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Camarero, vino tinto por favor

Red, white, rosé—it doesn’t matter which wine you sip while you practice.

Alcohol helps you speak Spanish, and we’ve got the science to prove it.

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (That’s so official-sounding, we definitely didn’t make it up) participants who had a serving of alcohol had better pronunciation than participants who were given only water.

“1) Alcohol might actually improve the ability to speak in a foreign language, that is, lead to actual improvements in foreign language performance.
2) Alcohol might alter bilingual speakers’ perception of their own ability to speak the second language, that is, lead to subjectively perceived improvements in foreign language performance” (Renner, Kersbergen, Field, & Werthmann 2017).

Original Image by Jing via Flickr

Stick to just the one serving, though, because too much booze has predictable adverse effects: “I can’t feel my nose,” and “Me llamo…what’s my name again?”

Another study notes that though alcohol makes tongue twisters harder in a speaker’s native language, phrases using foreign words weren’t affected (Tisljar-Szabo et al., 2014). This proves you should order your next cocktail with a twist:

El bebé bebe bebidas con burbujas.

(The baby drinks drinks with bubbles…and so do we.)

As it happens, Denver Spanish Network classes at Sassafras American Eatery can go ahead and ask the camarero for their vino tinto. Students at the DSN office have worked out a BYOB potluck. We’re not alcoholics, this is data-driven instruction. #ForScience

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a glass of wine/beer/tequila (Okay, calm down…it’s a shot glass) will help you speak Spanish.



Renner, Fritz, Inge Kersbergen, Matt Field, and Jessica Werthmann. “Dutch Courage? Effects of Acute Alcohol Consumption on Self-Ratings and Observer Ratings of Foreign Language Skills.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 32, no. 1 (2017): 116–22.

Tisljár-Szabó, Eszter, Renáta Rossu, Veronika Varga, and Csaba Pléh. “The Effect of Alcohol on Speech Production.” Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 43, no. 6 (December 2013): 737–48.

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