Having a pint of beer can help you improve your foreign language skills, revealed a recent study. Though alcohol is known to affect ones learning power, the study team from Liverpool and Maastricht universities and King's College, London, found that low dose consumption can help catch a foreign language better.
Study co-author Inge Kersbergen, from 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," Kersbergen added.
Fifty native German speakers who had recently learned Dutch were randomized to receive either a low dose of alcohol or a control beverage that contained no alcohol. The amount of alcohol varied on people's body weight: just under a pint (460ml) of 5 percent beer, for a 70 kg male. All the participants were studying at Maastricht University in Holland and recently learned to speak, read and write in Dutch.
After taking alcohol, each participant spoke with an experimenter in Dutch for a few minutes.
The discussion was audio-recorded and foreign language skills were rated by two native Dutch speakers who were blind to the experimental condition (observer-rating). Participants also rated their own individual Dutch language skills during the discussion (self-rating), the Journal of Psychopharmacology mentioned.
The researchers found that the participants who had consumed alcohol had significantly better observer-ratings for their Dutch language, specifically better pronunciation as compared to those who had not consumed alcohol.
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.