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5 8 2018 The Project Gutenberg E text of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. PREFACE TO PYGMALION,A Professor of Phonetics, As will be seen later on Pygmalion needs not a preface but a sequel which I have. supplied in its due place The English have no respect for their language and will not teach. their children to speak it They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it. sounds like It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some. other Englishman hate or despise him German and Spanish are accessible to foreigners. English is not accessible even to Englishmen The reformer England needs today is an. energetic phonetic enthusiast that is why I have made such a one the hero of a popular play. There have been heroes of that kind crying in the wilderness for many years past When I. became interested in the subject towards the end of the eighteen seventies Melville Bell. was dead but Alexander J Ellis was still a living patriarch with an impressive head always. covered by a velvet skull cap for which he would apologize to public meetings in a very. courtly manner He and Tito Pagliardini another phonetic veteran were men whom it was. impossible to dislike Henry Sweet then a young man lacked their sweetness of character. he was about as conciliatory to conventional mortals as Ibsen or Samuel Butler His great. ability as a phonetician he was I think the best of them all at his job would have entitled. him to high official recognition and perhaps enabled him to popularize his subject but for. his Satanic contempt for all academic dignitaries and persons in general who thought more. of Greek than of phonetics Once in the days when the Imperial Institute rose in South. Kensington and Joseph Chamberlain was booming the Empire I induced the editor of a. leading monthly review to commission an article from Sweet on the imperial importance of. his subject When it arrived it contained nothing but a savagely derisive attack on a. professor of language and literature whose chair Sweet regarded as proper to a phonetic. expert only The article being libelous had to be returned as impossible and I had to. renounce my dream of dragging its author into the limelight When I met him afterwards. for the first time for many years I found to my astonishment that he who had been a quite. tolerably presentable young man had actually managed by sheer scorn to alter his personal. appearance until he had become a sort of walking repudiation of Oxford and all its. traditions It must have been largely in his own despite that he was squeezed into something. called a Readership of phonetics there The future of phonetics rests probably with his. pupils who all swore by him but nothing could bring the man himself into any sort of. compliance with the university to which he nevertheless clung by divine right in an. intensely Oxonian way I daresay his papers if he has left any include some satires that may. be published without too destructive results fifty years hence He was I believe not in the. least an ill natured man very much the opposite I should say but he would not suffer fools. Those who knew him will recognize in my third act the allusion to the patent Shorthand. in which he used to write postcards and which may be acquired from a four and six penny. manual published by the Clarendon Press The postcards which Mrs Higgins describes are. such as I have received from Sweet I would decipher a sound which a cockney would. represent by zerr and a Frenchman by seu and then write demanding with some heat what. on earth it meant Sweet with boundless contempt for my stupidity would reply that it not. only meant but obviously was the word Result as no other Word containing that sound and. https www gutenberg org files 3825 3825 h 3825 h htm 2 63. 5 8 2018 The Project Gutenberg E text of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. capable of making sense with the context existed in any language spoken on earth That. less expert mortals should require fuller indications was beyond Sweet s patience. Therefore though the whole point of his Current Shorthand is that it can express every. sound in the language perfectly vowels as well as consonants and that your hand has to. make no stroke except the easy and current ones with which you write m n and u l p and. q scribbling them at whatever angle comes easiest to you his unfortunate determination to. make this remarkable and quite legible script serve also as a Shorthand reduced it in his own. practice to the most inscrutable of cryptograms His true objective was the provision of a. full accurate legible script for our noble but ill dressed language but he was led past that. by his contempt for the popular Pitman system of Shorthand which he called the Pitfall. system The triumph of Pitman was a triumph of business organization there was a weekly. paper to persuade you to learn Pitman there were cheap textbooks and exercise books and. transcripts of speeches for you to copy and schools where experienced teachers coached. you up to the necessary proficiency Sweet could not organize his market in that fashion He. might as well have been the Sybil who tore up the leaves of prophecy that nobody would. attend to The four and six penny manual mostly in his lithographed handwriting that was. never vulgarly advertized may perhaps some day be taken up by a syndicate and pushed. upon the public as The Times pushed the Encyclopaedia Britannica but until then it will. certainly not prevail against Pitman I have bought three copies of it during my lifetime and. I am informed by the publishers that its cloistered existence is still a steady and healthy one. I actually learned the system two several times and yet the shorthand in which I am writing. these lines is Pitman s And the reason is that my secretary cannot transcribe Sweet having. been perforce taught in the schools of Pitman Therefore Sweet railed at Pitman as vainly. as Thersites railed at Ajax his raillery however it may have eased his soul gave no popular. vogue to Current Shorthand Pygmalion Higgins is not a portrait of Sweet to whom the. adventure of Eliza Doolittle would have been impossible still as will be seen there are. touches of Sweet in the play With Higgins s physique and temperament Sweet might have. set the Thames on fire As it was he impressed himself professionally on Europe to an. extent that made his comparative personal obscurity and the failure of Oxford to do justice. to his eminence a puzzle to foreign specialists in his subject I do not blame Oxford. because I think Oxford is quite right in demanding a certain social amenity from its. nurslings heaven knows it is not exorbitant in its requirements for although I well know. how hard it is for a man of genius with a seriously underrated subject to maintain serene and. kindly relations with the men who underrate it and who keep all the best places for less. important subjects which they profess without originality and sometimes without much. capacity for them still if he overwhelms them with wrath and disdain he cannot expect. them to heap honors on him, Of the later generations of phoneticians I know little Among them towers the Poet. Laureate to whom perhaps Higgins may owe his Miltonic sympathies though here again I. must disclaim all portraiture But if the play makes the public aware that there are such. people as phoneticians and that they are among the most important people in England at. present it will serve its turn, I wish to boast that Pygmalion has been an extremely successful play all over Europe. and North America as well as at home It is so intensely and deliberately didactic and its. subject is esteemed so dry that I delight in throwing it at the heads of the wiseacres who. repeat the parrot cry that art should never be didactic It goes to prove my contention that art. should never be anything else, Finally and for the encouragement of people troubled with accents that cut them off. from all high employment I may add that the change wrought by Professor Higgins in the. flower girl is neither impossible nor uncommon The modern concierge s daughter who. fulfils her ambition by playing the Queen of Spain in Ruy Blas at the Theatre Francais is. https www gutenberg org files 3825 3825 h 3825 h htm 3 63. 5 8 2018 The Project Gutenberg E text of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. only one of many thousands of men and women who have sloughed off their native dialects. and acquired a new tongue But the thing has to be done scientifically or the last state of the. aspirant may be worse than the first An honest and natural slum dialect is more tolerable. than the attempt of a phonetically untaught person to imitate the vulgar dialect of the golf. club and I am sorry to say that in spite of the efforts of our Academy of Dramatic Art there. is still too much sham golfing English on our stage and too little of the noble English of. Forbes Robertson, Covent Garden at 11 15 p m Torrents of heavy summer rain Cab whistles blowing.
frantically in all directions Pedestrians running for shelter into the market and under the. portico of St Paul s Church where there are already several people among them a lady and. her daughter in evening dress They are all peering out gloomily at the rain except one man. with his back turned to the rest who seems wholly preoccupied with a notebook in which. he is writing busily,The church clock strikes the first quarter. THE DAUGHTER in the space between the central pillars close to the one on her left I m getting chilled to the. bone What can Freddy be doing all this time He s been gone twenty minutes. THE MOTHER on her daughter s right Not so long But he ought to have got us a cab by this. A BYSTANDER on the lady s right He won t get no cab not until half past eleven missus when they come. back after dropping their theatre fares, THE MOTHER But we must have a cab We can t stand here until half past eleven It s too bad. THE BYSTANDER Well it ain t my fault missus, THE DAUGHTER If Freddy had a bit of gumption he would have got one at the theatre door. THE MOTHER What could he have done poor boy, THE DAUGHTER Other people got cabs Why couldn t he. Freddy rushes in out of the rain from the Southampton Street side and comes between. them closing a dripping umbrella He is a young man of twenty in evening dress very wet. around the ankles,THE DAUGHTER Well haven t you got a cab.
FREDDY There s not one to be had for love or money. THE MOTHER Oh Freddy there must be one You can t have tried. THE DAUGHTER It s too tiresome Do you expect us to go and get one ourselves. FREDDY I tell you they re all engaged The rain was so sudden nobody was prepared and everybody had to. take a cab I ve been to Charing Cross one way and nearly to Ludgate Circus the other and they were all. THE MOTHER Did you try Trafalgar Square,FREDDY There wasn t one at Trafalgar Square. https www gutenberg org files 3825 3825 h 3825 h htm 4 63. 5 8 2018 The Project Gutenberg E text of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. THE DAUGHTER Did you try, FREDDY I tried as far as Charing Cross Station Did you expect me to walk to Hammersmith. THE DAUGHTER You haven t tried at all, THE MOTHER You really are very helpless Freddy Go again and don t come back until you have found a cab. FREDDY I shall simply get soaked for nothing, THE DAUGHTER And what about us Are we to stay here all night in this draught with next to nothing on. You selfish pig, FREDDY Oh very well I ll go I ll go He opens his umbrella and dashes off Strandwards but comes into.
collision with a flower girl who is hurrying in for shelter knocking her basket out of her hands A blinding. flash of lightning followed instantly by a rattling peal of thunder orchestrates the incident. THE FLOWER GIRL Nah then Freddy look wh y gowin deah. FREDDY Sorry he rushes off, THE FLOWER GIRL picking up her scattered flowers and replacing them in the basket There s menners f yer. Te oo banches o voylets trod into the mad She sits down on the plinth of the column sorting her flowers. on the lady s right She is not at all an attractive person She is perhaps eighteen perhaps twenty hardly. older She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London. and has seldom if ever been brushed Her hair needs washing rather badly its mousy color can hardly be. natural She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist She has a. brown skirt with a coarse apron Her boots are much the worse for wear She is no doubt as clean as she can. afford to be but compared to the ladies she is very dirty Her features are no worse than theirs but their. condition leaves something to be desired and she needs the services of a dentist. THE MOTHER How do you know that my son s name is Freddy pray. THE FLOWER GIRL Ow eez ye 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 atbaht pyin Will ye oo py me f them Here with. apologies this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as. unintelligible outside London, THE DAUGHTER Do nothing of the sort mother The idea. THE MOTHER Please allow me Clara Have you any pennies. THE DAUGHTER No I ve nothing smaller than sixpence. THE FLOWER GIRL hopefully I can give you change for a tanner kind lady. THE MOTHER to Clara Give it to me Clara parts reluctantly Now . The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever You may copy it give it away or re use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www gutenberg net Title Pygmalion

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