Drinking beer ‘could improve your ability to learn a language’

A new study has revealed that peoples’ ability to speak a new language could be improved according to how much alcohol they drink.

In a study made by Liverpool and Maastricht universities, it was unveiled that alcohol impairs brain power and body functions. In addition, executive mental functions, which include the ability to remember, inhabit inappropriate behaviours and pay attention are majorly sensitive to acute effects of alcohol.

With this in mind, executive functions are important when speaking a second language, and so the researchers expected alcohol to reduce the ability to speak a second language.

Though, alcohol heightens self-confidence and reduces social anxiety, both of which could better language ability when speaking to another individual.

Additionally, majority of bilingual speakers think that it can help their ability to speak a second language.

The study strived to test these contradictory predictions for the very first time.

The researchers went ahead and tested the effect of a low dose of alcohol on participants’ self-related and observer-rated ability to converse in Dutch. The participants of the study were 50 native German speakers, and who had recently learnt how to speak, read and write in Dutch.

Study co-author Dr Inge Kersbergen, of the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: "Our study shows that acute alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language in people who recently learned that language.

"This provides some support for the lay belief (among bilingual speakers) that a low dose of alcohol can improve their ability to speak a second language.”

Dr Fritz Renner, of Maastricht University, said: "It is important to point out that participants in this study consumed a low dose of alcohol. Higher levels of alcohol consumption might not have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language."

Fellow researcher Dr Jessica Werthmann added: "We need to be cautious about the implications of these results until we know more about what causes the observed results.

"One possible mechanism could be the anxiety-reducing effect of alcohol. But more research is needed to test this.”

The findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.


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