When I studied abroad in Rome, I was terrified of speaking Italian in front of people. This changed, though, after a few glasses of wine or Peroni bottles, in which case I was able to curse loudly about penises with the countrymen. I thought it was just me, but apparently it is science—according to a new study, alcohol does indeed help you speak a foreign language better. Take note, high school Italian students! Vaffanculo! I'm wasted.
The study, published this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, focused on 50 native German speakers who were learning Dutch at a university in the Netherlands. Researchers fed half the subjects water and half just under a pint of beer, then had them hold a two-minute conversation in Dutch with an interviewer. The drinkers showed better proficiency, or at least they sounded better—though vocabulary and grammar remained constant between the two groups, those who imbibed had better pronunciation.
It's not clear whether alcohol actually made the subjects better speakers, or it loosened them up enough to get the accents right. It's also noteworthy that drinking too much can make you slur or forget words, so you have to find a happy medium to fool your friends into thinking you're fluent. Still, it proves what I told many Italians outside my favorite drug den in Trastevere—"Solo parlo bene quando sono ubriaca." You can Google that if you don't understand it, or maybe just have a couple of beers.