Dhananjay Shah

“Let it go, This is Chandrashekhar” were the cliche I used to hear from a blind drunk mid-forty man in my hometown Gauriganj. He was a primary school dropout from Gaurigunj Madhyamik Vidhyalaya, where I did my schooling several years back.  At midnight, he used to stagger home dancing, singing, merrymaking; sometimes he used to make an exhibition of himself. A man who was gentle and introvert and shy at daytime used to turn out to be a different person at night. Alcohol disinhibited him and as a result, he spoke English with Dutch courage.

Yes, a significant number of researches have found that alcohol improves foreign language skills by lowering your inhibitions, language anxieties and uneasiness. The research findings suggest “consumption of a low dose of alcohol results in higher observer ratings of foreign language skills.” However, the research does not explore the impacts of acute alcohol consumption on foreign language proficiency.

In the case of Chandrashekhar, it seems that he speaks English in raksi courage (Jadkopawar) despite his limited English vocabulary.   There are many such people like Chandrashekhar. On some occasions, I find some friends of mine start English once they take in a few sips of raksi. First, they use one or two words in English and then some phrases and after some time the conversation goes in a complete English environment.

What psychologists believe is that stress, anxiety, ego and fear intervene in many activities including foreign language communication. Non-native speakers of a foreign language, for example English, may find problems of language anxiety. In Nepal, many fear English - they fear they may mess up or sound silly while they converse in English. For example, many of us hesitate and stutter; we fear we would mix up our verb tenses or we would mispronounce the words. Also, the phobia of “grammar bungle” may interfere with our fluency in English. For instance, many of us generally feel tongue-tied if we have to speak English in a formal program or in the public.

In fact, alcohol can lower inhibitions by not worrying about making mistakes. Despite the advantages of low consumption of alcohol, there are also high chances of ending up a drunkard. It is important to rid of inhibitions naturally through rigorous practice, not just in Dutch courage. It is important to develop foreign language skills by not fearing mistakes. Fear is one big impediment in a foreign language learning.