IWTYAL 229: Does alcohol make you more fluent in a foreign language?

Dave and Anja ask: “Does alcohol help you become more fluent?”

Episode Summary:

  • You often drink alcohol in social situations
  • Social situations are best possible environment for improving your speaking
  • Shyness and social anxiety often prevent people practising their language
  • To the extent that alcohol helps you feel more at ease, it may well be beneficial!

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  • Whitney N. Conroy

    I loved hearing your thoughts on this, Olly! I totally think alcohol helps your speaking skills. One of my good friends is from South Korea and whenever I drink with him, Korean seems to fly out of my mouth even though I haven’t actively studied Korean for a long time! Great topic!

    • It was a great question to have, and nice to be able to gather my thoughts on the topic!

  • Kevin Richardson

    One of my best experiences with speaking Japanese happened early on … I was in London at a Japanese meetup and after a few drinks, we got talking about Samurai movies … having had a few drinkypoos, I asked the Japanese guys I was with to talk Japanese like the samurai in the movies and I tried to mimic them … still can’t remember anything (apart from adding “degozaru” instead of “desu”) … but I definitely remember waking up the next morning and finding text messages to the effect that these Japanese friends had had a great time … and I thought, “Yeah, I would never felt comfortable trying to mimic them if I hadn’t been drinking … note to self … alcohol reaches the part of language learning other beverages fail to meet.”

    • Why doesn’t this story surprise me Kevin? 🙂

      • Kevin Richardson

        Yes, there’s definitely a pattern of diving into conversations to say the funniest things I can think of. Tonight was brilliant … it was secret santa at an izakaya, one of my coworkers got a pair of boxer shorts … and of course, one of my most recent grammar points was using まさか … so when my coworker came back from the restroom wearing his new boxer shorts, I exclaimed まさか、サンタに魔法な下着を貰うなんて! It’s like power-ups in video games … suddenly, you can say the funniest thing at exactly the right moment!