在全校师生的共同期待和参与下，我校迎来了第七届外语文化节的盛大开幕。今年的主题为“From here to the world”，“这里，世界”。
Good morning students and faculty of Chengdu Foreign Languages Middle School. My name is Max Denny. I’m very grateful to be invited to speak to you today about the importance and the value of Language, a topic that is very close to my heart. The theme today is From Here To the World. In light of this, I’d like to begin with a quote by the renowned journalist and linguist, Frank Smith:
“One language sets you in a corridor for life; two languages open every door along the way.”
I think what Dr. Smith means by this is that we all have a mother language that sets us up to live in the world, but that world is limited and somewhat predictable, like a long corridor with many locked doors on both sides. When we learn a second or a third language, it gives us the chance to open those doors. Behind them are many deeply valuable gifts. Of course there are the practical things I’m sure your parents and teachers always remind you of, like diverse career paths and chances to earn a good living. But In my own experience, the most valuable things language has given me personally have been gifts of the spirit and the mind: a chance to learn and understand the history and culture of people who grew up so differently from me, a chance to communicate heart-to-heart with those people and to listen to them when they are truly comfortable and being themselves.
Languages have a way of changing the way we think and opening our minds and souls to new perspectives. When we gain perspectives that are different from our own, we grow into more complex and interesting people and lead lives that are rich with diverse wisdom and appreciation for the world around us.
The benefits of language are numerous, but like all great things in this life, they come with a cost. As I’m sure you all know far too well, learning languages can be very difficult! It’s easy to give up on language and stay in these simple, comfortable corridors we grow up in. They are, after all, our homes, our families, our friends…
Well, I’m here to tell you today that your homes, families and friends will always be there, whether or not you choose to give yourself the gift of language and the keys to new opportunities. If you put in the work now, if you really try hard to find joy and curiosity in the study of another language, I promise you it will pay off later on. I promise you that all the experiences you gain, the people you meet, and the places you see as a result of your hard work will be things that will stay with you for a lifetime. And if language does indeed lead you to from here to the world, the ones who stay behind will be more than happy to listen when you share those wonderful gifts with them.