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Resources » Technical Resource Centers » Protein Technical Resources » Protein News » New Study Shows That Alcohol Helps Foreign Language Skills
alcohol, foreign language, speaking skills

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New Study Shows That Alcohol Helps Foreign Language Skills

Nov 10, 2017

A new study published in Journal of Psychopharmacology shows that the skills of people learning to speak a foreign language improved after they have consumed a low dose of alcohol.

Traditional studies have shown that alcohol consumption can reduce social anxiety and increase self-confidence, but can also impair cognitive functions and motor skills. In a first of its kind attempt, researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht, and King's College in London performed a study to test if bilingual speakers can improve their ability to speak a second language by consuming a small dose of alcohol. The study comprised of 50 participants, who were native German speakers who were studying at a Dutch University and had recently learned to speak, read, and write in Dutch. The participants were randomized and were given either a low dose of alcohol or a control beverage to consume. The exact dose of alcohol varied by the participant's body weight but it was equivalent to about 460mL of 5% beer for a 70 kg male. The participants then chatted with an experimenter in Dutch for a few minutes and then were evaluated by themselves for a self evaluation and a second evaluation with native Dutch speakers who did not know if the participants consumed alcohol or not.

Interestingly, researchers found that the participants who consumed low amounts of alcohol to have a significantly better observer-ratings on their Dutch language skills with pronunciation, as compared to the participants who did not consume alcohol. Scientists believe that it is possible that low amounts of alcohol can have beneficial effects in terms of pronunciation and learning a second language. It is important to note that higher levels of alcohol may not have the same beneficial results. Researchers are cautious about the implications of these observed results and admit that more research is needed to fully elucidate the mechanism behind these results. It is speculated that low amount of alcohol may be involved in an anxiety-reducing mechanism, but more research needs to be conducted before conclusions can be drawn.

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Dutch courage? Effects of acute alcohol consumption on self-ratings and observer ratings of foreign language skills (October 2017)