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  1. 1. Assignment on Pygmalion as a Drama of Phoneticians Subject: Phonetics and Phonology Submitted To: Sir. Sohail FalakSher Submitted By: Waseem Azhar Gilani Roll No. 19 Class: M.Phil (Linguistics) Session: Semester 1ST (2007-09) Department of English
  2. 2. The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Contents: 1. Abstract 2. Shaw’s Contribution to English Language 3. Pygmalion Summary 3.1 Act One: 3.2 Act Two: 3.3 Act Three 3.4 Act Four 3.5 Act Five 3.6 Ending 4. Pygmalion and Phonetics 1.Tecnical Feature of Phonetics 2. Social Aspects of Phonetics 4.1. Instruments used in Phonetics Lab (iii)Phonograph (iii)Phonograph (iv)Laryngoscope (iv)Laryngoscope (v) Organ Pipes (vi)Singing Flames (vi)Singing (vii)Tuning Forks (vii)Tuning 4.2 Terminology of Phonetics Introduced in the Drama (i) Dialects (ii) Bell’s Visible Speech (iii) Romic (iv) Rhetoric (v) Rhythm (vi) Universal Language 5. Social Aspects of the Drama (viii) Class Distinction (ix) Importance of Correct Pronunciation (x) Economical Attachments Associated with Phonetic (xi) Communication and Standard English
  3. 3. (xii)Conclusion (xii)Conclusion (xiii)Bibliography (xiii)Bibliography Pygmalion as a Drama of Phoneticians Abstract: This drama Bernard Shaw wrote when in English society, English was not given too much importance. People love to speak French and the religious class Greek and Latin. Pope and Churchill have also depicted this fact of ignoring English indaily life through their literary works. The literary class of English was trying to promote English as a rich and unique language of the world. Here in English society Good language Skill was a symbol of high rank in society. Shaw has tried to convince the lay man this that the English should pay attention to their language as a universal language. And that class distinction associated with language should be abolished by introducing a Universal system of pronunciation. Shaw’s Contribution to English Language Bernard Shaw himself was also disgusted by the way English language was treated, means to say spoken. Most of the people of England didn’t care to speak well with good pronunciation. Bernard Shaw was also disgusted by the harsh and slovenly speech of many of the people in England. He blamed this onto English spelling system. He had utmost desire to bring reforms in this system of English alphabet. For this purpose he left most of his fortune to the expenses of starting a new English Alphabets based on phonetics principles which would provide a separate symbol or sign for each spoken sound. Thus the alphabets will of course enlarge but it will become easy to learn the language. Shaw believed that this exact representation of sounds in writing and in print would bring about correct pronunciation by every one and break down class distinction. The title of the drama shows the idealistic approach of Shaw towards English
  4. 4. language. If we consider Shaw as Pygmalion, then English language like Galatea would signify as a perfect language with no shortcomings at all. Here in the drama there is no sign to show the link of the title with its characters but commonly it is perceived that Higgins must be the Pygmalion and Eliza is his creation. But out side the drama there is Shaw who himself stands for Pygmalion and the English language is Galatea. His utmost desire was to see English a perfect language of the world. Of course there are many artistic and philosophical merits of art in this drama but we are going to touch only those aspects which will deal with Phonetics. Pygmalion Summary Pygmalion (1912) is a play by George Bernard Shaw based on Ovid's tale of Pygmalion. It tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics. In those days language was going to be revolutionized by the phonetician Henry Sweet or possibly Alexander Melville Bell. They worked more for the study of phonetics in those days. Higgins makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney (a dialect) flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette. She is a very bad speaker with incorrect pronunciation. It would have been a miracle to train her to such an extant that she would be able to pass off as a duchess rather a princess at an ambassador’s Garden Party. Here I would like to quote some examples from the text of the play that show the worst way she speaks: THE FLOWER GIRL. Ow, ooa san is e? Wal, fewd dan y’ de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel’s flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f’them? LIZA. Bucknam Pellis [Buckingham Palace]
  5. 5. And Higgins comments to Pickering about the girl in the following manner … Higgins. You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that Higgins. will keep her in the gutter to the ends of her days. In the process of her education of phonetics, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill, a poor and young gentleman. Act One: Covent Garden - 11.15 p. m. A group of people are sheltering from the rain. Amongst them are the silly, shallow, social climbing Eynsford-Hills, consisting of mother and daughter, Clara. Freddy Eynsford-Hill enters after being unable to find a cab to take them home. He is a weak and ineffectual character. His sister bullies him, and enjoys seeing him look ridiculous. As he goes off once again to find a cab, he bumps into a flower girl, Eliza. Her flowers drop into the mud of Covent Garden, the flowers she needs to survive in her poverty-stricken world. Shortly they are joined by a gentleman, Colonel Pickering. While Eliza tries to sell flowers to the Colonel, a bystander informs her that a man is writing down everything she says. The man is Professor Henry Higgins. A row occurs when Higgins tells people where they were born, which creates both amazement and irritation. It is strange thing for the common people to solve this mystery. But it is the miracle of Dialectology that a man can be identified through the way he speaks that from where he had come It becomes apparent that he and Colonel Pickering have a shared interest in phonetics. Indeed, Pickering has come from India to meet Higgins and Higgins was planning to go to India to meet Pickering. Higgins tells Pickering that he could turn the flower girl into a duchess. These words of bravado spark an interest in Eliza, who would love to make changes in her life and become more mannerly, even though, to her, it only means working in a flower shop. At the
  6. 6. end of the act, Freddy returns after finding a taxi, only to find that his mother and sister have gone and left him with the cab. Eliza takes the cab from him, using the money that Higgins tossed to her out of pity, leaving him on his own. Act Two: Higgins' Laboratory - Next Day As Higgins demonstrates his equipment (Phonograph, Laryngoscope, Organ Pipes, Singing Flames, Tuning Forks etc.) to Pickering, the housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, tells him that a young girl wants to see him. She is shown up, and to his disappointment it is Eliza. He has no interest in her, but she says she wants to pay him to have lessons, so that she can talk like a lady in a flower shop. Higgins claims that he could turn her into a duchess. Pickering makes a bet with him on his claim, and says that he will pay for her lessons. She is sent off to have a bath. Mrs. Pearce tells Higgins that he must behave himself in the young girl's presence. He must stop swearing, and improve his table manners. He is at a loss to understand why she should find fault with him. Then Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father, appears with the sole purpose of getting money out of Higgins. He has no interest in his daughter in a paternal way. He sees himself as member of the undeserving poor, and means to go on being undeserving. He has an eccentric view of life, brought about by a lack of education and an intelligent brain. He is also aggressive, and when Eliza, on her return, sticks her tongue out at him, he goes to hit her, but is prevented by Pickering. The scene ends with Higgins telling Pickering that they really have got a difficult job on their hands. Act Three: Mrs. Higgins' drawing room Henry tells his mother he has a young 'common' whom he has been teaching.
  7. 7. Mrs. Higgins is not very impressed with her son's attempts to win her approval because it is her 'at home' day, in which she is entertaining visitors. The visitors are the Eynsford-Hills. Henry is rude to them on their arrival. Eliza enters and soon falls into talking about the weather and her family. The humour stems from the knowledge the audience have of Eliza, of which the Eynsford-Hills are curiously ignorant. When she is leaving, Freddy Eynsford-Hill asks her if she is going to walk across the park, to which she replies; quot; Walk! Not bloody likely...quot; (This is the most famous line from the play, and, for many years after, to use the word 'bloody' was known as a Pygmalion.) After she and the Eynsford-Hills leave, Henry asks for his mother's opinion. She says the girl is not presentable, and she is very concerned about what will happen to the girl, but neither Higgins nor Pickering understand her, and leave feeling confident and excited about how Eliza will get on. This leaves Mrs. Higgins feeling exasperated, and she says quot;Men! Men!! Men!!!quot; Act Four: Higgins' laboratory The time is midnight, and Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza have returned from the garden party. Pickering congratulates Higgins on winning the bet. As they retire to bed, Higgins asks where his slippers are, and on returning to his room Eliza throws them at him. The remainder of the scene is about Eliza not knowing what she is going to do with her life, and Higgins not understanding her difficulty. Higgins says she could get married, but Eliza interprets this as selling herself like a prostitute. Finally she returns her jewellery to Higgins, including the ring he had given her, as though she is cutting her ties with him, but retrieves it from the hearth.
  8. 8. Act Five: Mrs. Higgins' drawing room Higgins and Pickering are perturbed at discovering that Eliza has walked out on them. Doolittle returns now dressed in wedding attire and transformed into the middle class in which he feels ‘intimidated’. The scene ends with another confrontation between Higgins and Eliza, which is basically a repeat of the previous act. The play ends with everyone leaving to see Doolittle married, and Higgins leaves on his own. Ending: Despite the intense central relationship between Eliza and Henry, the original play ends with her leaving to marry the eager young Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Pygmalion and Phonetics 1. Technical Feature of Phonetics 2. Social Aspects of the Phonetics I. Technical Features of Phonetics Here in this drama a clear atmosphere of Phonetics by introducing two aspects of phonetics in the drama. (i) Instruments used in Phonetics Lab (ii) Terminology of Phonetics Introduced in the Drama (i) Instruments used in Phonetics Lab To create the true atmosphere of a drama of Phoneticians Shaw has given the description of the instruments used by Higgins. Higgins as shown in the drama is
  9. 9. the great Professor if Phonetics who is master in the art of correct pronunciation. Pygmalion is success drama for depicting the art of Phonetics. The introduction of following instruments in the drama is enough to prove that it covers all the aspects of Phonetics. (xiv)Phonograph (xiv)Phonograph (xv)Laryngoscope (xv)Laryngoscope (xvi)Organ Pipes (xvi)Organ (xvii)Singing Flames (xvii)Singing (xviii)Tuning Forks (xviii)Tuning (i)Phonograph Phonograph is an early form of gramophone. In early 19th century it was a device to record sounds on cylindrical records. While in gramophone flat discs were used the like we use today in computers and CD players. It was of great help for Higgins to have a record of the sounds of different people with different accents and dialects. Higgins gave us a glimpse of a language lab of early twentieth century. (ii)Laryngoscope Larynx is also called ‘voice box’. It contains vocal folds which play very vital role in the production of sounds. Laryngoscope is an instrument with a mirror placed at an angel inside the mouth. By using laryngoscope the vibration and movement of vocal folds can be recorded. This helps us study the activity of vocal folds in the production of sounds as a part of Phonetics. Now with the advent of modern era of science and technology, phoneticians are using optical laryngoscope which enables them to have a more direct and flexible inspection of larynx and the vocal folds. The wire like fiber is inserted through the nose to larynx. In this way with less interference with normal speech it gives us a more vivid video of the vibration and function of the vocal folds.
  10. 10. (iii) Organ Pipes Organ is a musical instrument consisting of metal pipes. That when air passes through these pipes, musical notes are produced. This instrument is also used in Phonetics lab to examine the compressed air in the forms of sound waves. It helps in describing the different features of different sounds made by different people with different sound qualities. (iv) Singing Flames It is an apparatus for creating and regulating sounds in phonetic lab. It is used to have comparative studies of different sounds. (v)Tuning Fork It is a small metal instrument with two long parts joined together at an end. It produces particular musical notes when we hit it on some piece of rubber. There are tuning forks of different frequencies in phonetics lab e.g. 40 Hz, 500 Hz 45ooHz etc. According to their frequencies of sounds they produce different sounds. (ii) Terminology of Phonetics Introduced in the Drama As you know Phonetics is a science and like all other physical sciences it has a frame work of its own. In its field of study it has a wide range of terms some of which are introduced in this play which are as under: (i) Dialects (ii) Bell’s Visible Speech (iii) Romic (iv) Rhetoric (v) Rhythm
  11. 11. (vi) Universal Language (i) Dialects A regionally or socially distinctive variety of language is called dialect. It is identified by particular set of words and grammatical structures. Spoken dialects are usually also associated with a distinctive pronunciation or accent. Here in the drama Shaw has introduced many dialects of English spoken in London. As when Higgins like a fortune teller looks declaring the natal places of the people around him e.g. Selsy, lesson Grove. Park lane, Hoxton (Chellenham, Harrow, Cambridge, India ) Earls court, Epsom, Hanwell, Hounslow, Welish, Continental dialects, African daialects, hottentot.
  12. 12. (ii)Bell’s visible Speech Alexander Melville Bell was famous as ‘Professor of Vocal Physiology’. He introduced ‘the Science of Universal Alphabets’. He meant to create Universal Alphabets which can be used to write any language of the world in phonetic form. These Universal Alphabets were based on Phonetics sounds in the form of symbols to put any language in this form would meant a common system of alphabets to note down any language of the world. He was a lecture in University College London. Here in the drama Higgins uses these phonetic Alphabets to write down the speech sounds of Eliza. (iii)Romic Henry Sweet invented a system of spoken Alphabets representing spoken sounds in the written form. Professor Higgins also introduces this system of phonetics to write down the speech sounds of Eliza. (iv) Rhetoric Higgins says Pickering about the speech of Mr. Doolittle ‘this chap has a natural gift of rhetoric. Observe the rhythm’. I’m willing to tell you. I’m wanting to tell you. I’m waiting to tell you. According to the classical approach rhetoric means effective or persuasive speaking. Here in the above example rhetoric expressions are at their best. (v)Rhythm Rhythm denotes maximum regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllabus. Here is the example of what Mr. Doolittle is saying: I’m willing to tell you. I’m wanting to tell you.
  13. 13. I’m waiting to tell you. The rhythm is much obvious in the expressions of Mr. Doolitle. (vi) Universal Language Bernard Shaw was of the view that there should be a universal system of language to facilitate the process of language learning and this can be only done by introducing a system of Phonetic Alphabets. These alphabets would be based on sound of the alphabets of language. There is a great controversy between English spellings of the words and their pronunciation. Because of this problem we can hardly predict the correct pronunciation of English words. And this phenomenon is a great hurdle in the production of correct pronunciation. As IPA shows the possible sound uttered by human vocal tract. These sounds are universal in there scope forming the bases of universal language which would be common to all languages of the world. II. Social Aspects of the Phonetics Here in this drama, it has been shown that Phonetics is also a social phenomenon. It has very deep effects on human life in a society especially in English social environment where people are much more conscious of etiquettes and manner of addressing and speaking. Here in such society, a lot of things are associated with the way one communicates. Such factors are going to be described as under: (xix)Class Distinction (xix)Class (xx)Importance of Correct Pronunciation (xx)Importance (xxi)Economical Attachments Associated with (xxi)Economical Phonetics (vi) Standard English
  14. 14. (i) Class Distinction English society is a class conscious society where manners of social conduct are of much too importance. English language is spoken with many different styles and different accents forming many dialects with in the language. Especially Standard English is spoken by posh people with good social back ground. Higgins shows this tendency that in the following speech: Higgins: Men begin in Kentish Town with ₤80 a year end in Park Lane with a hundred thousand, they want to drop Kentish Town. It means with the shift in the class there is also a shift from bad English towards Standard English. Rather there is an assumption that it is only Royal Blood which speaks good English with good accent and pronunciation. Bad English is associated with the lower strata of the society. Higgins: But you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It is filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul. Higgins in his speech shows that language differences marks a great class distinction. And if there is no difference of language spoken these class barriers can be broken down. Shaw himself was a great advocate of equality in society. Therefore he worked in this drama as a drama of phonetician to show the importance of language in a social context. He wanted to make the entire nation aware of the fact that good communication skill is of vital importance. Shaw wants to convince us that for good communication a good language with good pronunciation is utmost necessary. (ii)The Importance of Correct Pronunciation Shaw who wants an equality of status among human beings wanted to establish a new Universal Standard Language which would eliminate all class
  15. 15. distinction from the society. He wanted that at least language should break all class distinctions which are associated with it. As shown in the drama the education of Eliza in phonetics, her new environment and her training in middle class manners and morality transform her from a flower girl to a duchess which Higgins intended to make her. The main theme of the play also shows that for becoming a duchess or a princess, one must know the art of speaking good English with good pronunciation. It is only the proficiency of language because of which Eliza was succeeded in passing of as a duchess. Correct pronunciation is as much a matter of phonetics. Phonetics as you all know is the knowledge of sounds. Higgins is the professor of English who is master in his art of teaching correct pronunciation to make the people proficient in the use of English language (iii)Economical Attachments Associated with Phonetics Eliza: An old lady has just told me that I speak exactly like Queen Victoria. As in the example of Eliza that when she dreamt of being able to speak good English, she realizes that she will look lady like and can get a job in a flower-shop where better English is needed Eliza: But they won’t take me unless I can talk more genteel. Man’s economic life also depends on good language skills. Without good speaking power it is much difficult to get a handsome job. Therefore Eliza was forced to sell flowers while walking on the roads. But when in the end of the play she has learnt to speak well, she is confident enough that she decided to marry Freddy and even she has developed the courage to support that timid fellow. (iv) Communication and Standard English Shaw put great emphasis on using good English as in these lines Higgins is
  16. 16. commenting on Eliza’s English Higgins: A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be any where. Here Standard English is introduced as the language of the educated and the posh class of the society. Shaw was very proud of English language as in the following lines Higgins says: Higgins: Your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and the Bible. And if people in upper strata can’t speak good English, they think it better to deny or conceal the fact that they know English at all. As in following quotation: Nepommuck: This Greek diplomatist pretends he cannot speak nor understand English Standard English must be the skillful art of English people which means they must be able to speak English with good pronunciation according to the standard form of English. This standard form is now called as RP or BBC English. With out Standard English there is always a communication barrier which employs some restriction and laps in social life. And without standard English there can be good and effective communication. Conclusion: Bernard Shaw has always been using literature with the sole purpose of imposing his ideas on the nation. Same is the case in this drama. He wants reforms in the field of the use of language. And he wrote this drama with the profound knowledge of the science of speech. Shaw has most beautifully blended the two different things one is the science of speech and the other is the art of playwright. It is shown in the selection of the language of the drama and in the use of different terminology specific to the field of language. It looks like that he is the real Phonetician behind the curtain. It is also evident through his effort towards the task in his real life that he
  17. 17. also shown his practical interest in the field of reforms in the language. He left most of his fortune for the expenses to introduce a universal language. He has introduced the whole world of PHONETICS through this drama that even a lay man can understand the whole piece of literature as a drama about language and phonetics. ---------------------------------- Bibliography: 1. Shaw, Bernard (1912), Pygmalion. 2. Malmkjær, Kirsten (1991), The Linguistics Encyclopedia, Routledge, Encyclopedia, London. 3. Crystal, David (1997), A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, Blackwell, London. 4.Gupta, Sen, The Art of Bernard Shaw 5. 6. Crystal, David (1995), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Cambridge University Press, London.