My Swedish is better when I’ve been drinking

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Once again I’ve decided my Swedish is better when I’ve had a drink or two, or three or four.

I first discovered this a few years ago at a bar in Stockholm. I was chatting in English with a couple of Swedish guys, and when the topic got around to learning the Swedish language, I discovered my Swedish was far better after a few drinks. We enjoyed a reasonably fluent discussion after the third or fourth beer, as I recall.

The notion was further re-inforced when, after a boozy night in Stockholm, I happened upon a taxi driver who was taking me “the long way home”. I knew exactly where I wanted to go and how to get there, but I guess he assumed I was some dumb tourist from Australia, and so took a left turn when he should have taken a right, which would have resulted in a significantly higher fare. I was able to challenge him, negotiate the “right way home” and ensure he stopped the meter early to compensate.

Deep down, I think the “speaks better when I’ve been drinking” scenario is because when you’re feeling less inhibited due to alcohol, you’re also feeling less self-conscious about your failings, in terms of vocabulary, fluency and that “weird accent”. In short, it becomes more instinctive, and less “thought out”.

The “speaks better when he’s been drinking” scenario happened again the other night. I was walking home (and I’d had a drink or two) and surprisingly crossed paths with a couple of young women speaking Swedish. Our conversation, though brief, was almost fluent, even though I haven’t been to Swedish classes for most of the year, and I’m feeling a bit rusty.

This year has been quite busy work-wise, and I haven’t had much in the way of motivation to go to Swedish class at 8.00pm on a Wednesday night. Put simply, I’m far too tired by the time Wednesday night comes around. I’ll possibly return to Swedish class next year. Or maybe I’ll just keep drinking? :)

4 comments

  1. It is fine line between how much you drink that makes you eloquent in English or foreign languages and when you have had too much. But when you have had too much, you don’t know that you have tipped over the edge. Ok, you are already eloquent in English. It was/is your job. I don’t know that my French is any better after a couple of drinks. I can type at twice the speed with twice the accuracy after a couple of drinks. I can get grammar and sentence arranging better after a couple of drinks. Remembering to days past, I could drive better after a couple of drinks. But as I said, it is a fine line and you will rarely see anything written by me at night published immediately. Ditto sms and email.

    In my experience of people who don’t have English as their first language, their accent gets heavier the more the drink and they become unintelligible. It does not seem to to affect them in other ways though!

      1. Hej James, Driving in Sweden is another matter altogether….what fun especially on NYE with everyone else shall I say tipsy and me the driver almost turning left on instinct to go around the roundabout. Hej da

        1. Oh dear Castlenz!!!

          Love these comments on other social media

          Catherine Croll: Same with my mandarin!

          Martin Corben: My Italian just gets more boisterous

          Niall Cook: LOL…right there with you James ;)

          Rae Allen: think the relaxation helps – you tend to think less about what you are saying and go with the flow.

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