Wednesday Facts: alcohol and language

The longer your alcohol break lasts, the more you will learn about the subject of alcohol. This time a few facts about alcohol and language. Because do you know what the English mean by Dutch Courage† And improve your French and vacancies with every glass fin that you drink? Correct! At least, to some extent….

English expressions about Dutch people and alcohol

Did you know that we Dutch appear in many different English expressions? And not always in a positive way. You probably know the expression 'Dutch treat'† The English use this term when someone is treated to a dinner and is later presented with the bill for it. And 'Going Dutch' represents a night out where everyone pays for their own drinks. The Dutch also play the leading role in various expressions in relation to alcohol.

This is how you prefer not to close 'Dutch agreement'† By this the English refer to an appointment that two people make while they are drunk and of which they do not remember anything afterwards. Or what about 'Dutch Courage', where someone only has the courage to start talking about something after drinking a lot of alcohol. The origin of these and other English expressions in which we are portrayed rather unflatteringly lies in the 17e and 18e century. At that time we were at war with the English. As far as English language use is concerned, we are still reaping the benefits of this today.

Alcohol and a word about the border

Do you speak a foreign language? Then a small amount of alcohol can make you easier to understand. Dutch and British researchers came to this conclusion in 2017 on the basis of research among fifty Germans. The scientists got German participants who had learned Dutch to drink a drink before the study. This drink contained alcohol in some cases. The participants themselves did not know whether or not they had consumed alcohol. A few minutes after taking the drink, each participant had a conversation in Dutch. These conversations were later assessed by Dutch speakers. And what turned out? The language skills of the participants who had a sip were rated significantly better than that of the sober participants. The participants themselves did not notice any difference in their language skills.

The scientists suggested that a small amount of alcohol has a disinhibiting effect as a possible explanation. As a result, the participants with alcohol may have felt less fear of communicating in a foreign language. The scientists themselves spoke of 'gin suspicion'. Source:

Drunk people speak the truth

The Dutch language also has various proverbs about alcohol. Such as 'looking too deeply into the glass', 'being lazarus' or 'when the wine is in the man, the wisdom is in the pitcher'. Another saying goes: 'drunk people and children speak the truth.' Many sayings contain a grain of truth. Are you curious whether this also applies to this statement? Then read the article 'Drunk people always speak the truth


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