Yeah, this will be a controversial post.
But it’s true:
Alcohol can help you with speaking a foreign language.
Some claim it doesn’t, but I want you to know the truth with as less hypocrisy as possible.
When I say alcohol helps you to speak a foreign language, I’m not talking about getting drunk. (Although that may help you speak a foreign language no one has ever heard about.)
What I’m referring to is what’s called moderate drinking:
A beer here and there to loosen up your tongue, but not so much that it gets all tangled up!
In this post I’ll talk, somewhat reluctantly, about the reasons why alcohol is beneficial if you want to learn a new language.
Now, before you start running to the liquor store, take note of the following:
Alcohol is only beneficial to you, if you’re an advanced learner of your target language.
Moderate alcohol consumption can help you with the social aspect of language learning. In other words with the output, but not really the input.
If you’re just getting your feet wet, it’s useless to converse in your new language and thus pointless to drink.
Loosening Up Your Tongue and an Important Side Effect of it
The most obvious benefit of moderate drinking is that it loosens up your tongue. You become more confident in using your new language.
But a more flexible tongue has a hugely beneficial side effect to it:
When you drink a little, it’s easier to make friends with native speakers. Especially when you’re an Introvert.
When you then run into them later —in a sober state— you’ll basically have to talk to them.
The more new acquaintances you make, the more you have to use your new language. And the more you use it, the more confident you become.
How do I know all that?
Because I went through the same thing.
A little booze helped me practice my Spanish. And it helped me to make new friends, whom I then “had” to talk to on a regular basis—which meant I had to practice whether I liked or not.
So, yeah, a bit of alcohol works.
And it’s not just my idea either:
A recent study found that low doses of alcohol help people speak a language more fluently.
With so much “evidence”, you probably think I would recommend drinking alcohol to help you better speak a language…
But I don’t.
Here’s Why I Don’t Recommend You Drink Alcohol as A Language Learning Aid
The aim of this post is to speak the truth.
Alcohol can help with language learning.
It’s also a risky strategy.
(This is where this post’s controversy ends. If you need some more controversy, read this. Okay, maybe not that controversial….)
First of all, low doses are sometimes hard to keep…low. If your night out lasts six hours, do you keep sipping for six hours straight?
If you use alcohol as a social lubricant, it’s quite easy to fall in the trap of alcoholism.
Before you know it, you need alcohol for every social occasion.
And alcohol can be bad for you…very bad. (Yeah, mom…)
Alcohol can cause heart disease, various cancers, high blood pressure, liver disease, and the list goes on.
Not to mention that you may be in a foreign country. And under influence it’s easier to get involved with the wrong people.
And it’s way easier to do stupid things. (Like having unprotected sex…)
Remember, you’re always more intoxicated than you think.
So that’s why I don’t recommend you drink alcohol as a way to improve your speaking skills.
What the Heck Am I Talking About?!
We’ve discussed both sides of the coin.
I’m sure that you—as an adult—can make the right choice for yourself.
Alcohol can help, but you must have a strong personality to deal with its risks…which may mean you don’t even need alcohol to begin with.
So while I’m writing this, I suddenly realize I’ve actually shot down my own argument:
If you’re mentally fragile, you may need alcohol to become a little more social. But that also means you’re not a good fit to deal with alcohol’s dangers.
If you’re mentally strong, you’re able to deal with these risks, but you don’t need alcohol to steady yourself in social situations.
Strong person: can handle the pitfalls of alcohol but doesn’t need it to increase confidence.
Weaker person: a bit of alcohol can be useful, but can’t handle alcohol’s traps.
Neither one should drink!
What a pointless article…