Pygmalion - the significance of accents and the characters of Eliza and Henry.

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                        The significance of dialect and accents in how we view citizens

When we think about the manners of speaking when it comes to people, often times we judge them based on not only their accents but the words they use. We often times use manner of speaking to categorize people. It is often said that we judge a person as soon as we see them, whether we intend to or not as it is simply the inner need to categorize and manners of speaking are often times taken into account in this categorizing process.

        Accents are often used to identify the roots of a person. For example a British accent for British citizens, and a Southern Accent for those located in the South of North America. We also associate class with accents of people. Those with a southern accent or drawl often times are not regarded with the same respect as those for example with a British accent. A southern drawl is associated with “Hillbillies” and therefore those with this type of accent are not regarded with the same respect. In the same way those with a British are regarded to be intelligent and knowledgeable due to the class given by their accent. Accents are used to judge people due to the connotations they hold, a British accent is seen as cultured and their words are enunciated showing class while a southern drawl uses much slang and words are not clipped precisely.  Through identifying the roots we make judgements or we place the person in a category which we see fit.

        Words or dialect are often also used to determine the class of an individual. Sticking to the prior example of a Southern drawl, they are often known to use the words “y’all” and “Ain’t” which many consider a sign of low intelligence. Whereas not only are the British known for their high-class vernacular, they are also known to use words correctly without having their meanings evolve. For example the word “mad” is now often used in reference to anger, whereas it is a common British used word that means mad in connotation to crazy. In this sense dialect is used to categorize people.

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        In the senses shown above, dialect and accents are often used to show how we view or judge an individual. Although it is in a sense judgemental it is human natures for us to assume those with a British accent are classier than those with a Southern accent.

                                        Response Questions (1)

  1. Eliza Doolittle – She is the protagonist as most argue as she develops a great character change. Eliza in the beginning is quite defensive and in a way innocent. She believes for example that Higgins in the beginning is taking notes in order to put her in ...

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