Research has indicated that people who become smug about their supposed fluency in a second language after an alcoholic beverage might actually be on to something.
The unexpected phenomenon was backed up by a study on German university students which revealed a small amount of alcohol improved how well a second language could be understood.
The study was conducted at the University of Maastricht where German students held two minute conversations with Dutch observers.
Results showed the students who drank alcohol, as opposed to water, were better rated by observers because they held smoother conversations and had better pronunciation.
“Acute alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language in people who have recently learned that language,” the study stated.
Researchers warned however that excessive alcohol consumption had the opposite effect, impairing cognitive and motor functions which negatively affected speech.
The study was published in October 2017 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, however critics noted faults in the potential interference of participants’ psychology.
“The participants knew what they were consuming,” leaders of the study said, saying it was difficult to determine if results were “a biological effect of alcohol consumption or a psychological effect”.
Future research into the way alcohol influences one’s ability to speak fluently in a second language would need to consider use of a placebo, the study read.
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