I had a chat today with a lady who lives in Vancouver. She was complaining about how difficult it is for adults to learn English in Vancouver. But her problem is that her whole life is caught up with her own ethnic group. She has contacts with English speakers but her heart and soul are wrapped up in her identity and the problems of her national group.
I think that is why she has a tough time learning English. Secretly she does not want to. She does not want to change her personality into someone who is comfortable with people other than her own group. She feels the need to be a flag bearer for her whole tribe. Such people cannot learn languages. They undoubtedly are valuable for other purposes in the scheme of things, but not as language learners.
But I was reassured when I was able to join a voice chat with two of our eager learners. One from Taiwan and one from China. Both spoke excellent English. Both agreed with me that all you needed was the right attitude and an efficient method. Both had unpleasant memories of being forced to do boring exercises in school. Both enjoyed reading, listening and talking in English now.
I speak nine languages and do not feel the world should speak English. I feel that people can learn languages if they just relax and look for ways to enjoy the language. But it is important to establish some independence from one’s native language and culture.