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Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulating speech: that your native language is of Shakespeare and Milton and the Bible: and don’t sit here crooning like a bilious pig.” The cockney accent is one of the main determiners for her class.Eliza being told that she has no right to live because of her colloquial accent shows that she doesn’t possess power of being able to feel confident and stand up for herself against such crude remarks.
He was a “gentleman” who wore gentlemanly “be-oots” (boots).
He could talk in fine, sophisticated, Standard English with clear and flawless pronunciation and was clearly very well educated.
Shaw cleverly uses the vulgarity of specific dialect to criticize the lower class and also the superficiality of upper class.
Higgins, belonging to the higher society was an altogether diverse man.
The first section focuses on the social class distinction; Shaw tries to highlight the use of language.
In his perception, the language that the two characters used defined their identities.
I would then argue that language doesn’t hold a connection to the gender inequality in the society. I will also be stressing the fact that as a well refined lady, Eliza faces an identity crisis and more gender inequality than she did living on the streets as a common girl. B Shaw’s comedy of purpose Pygmalion, language is seen as an effective tool of social power which imposes hierarchy on society.
Shaw believed that language causes social inclusion and exclusion and this Edwardian mannerism and prejudice finds expression in the social, educational and gender injustice of his times.
Shaw’s parenthetical comment on Eliza’s speech stresses his distaste for the cockney accent.
The importance of language is further brought into view when Eliza comes across Professor Higgins in the street, a proud phonetician, who can distinguish everybody’s origin from his/her accent.