The Use of the Concept of “Language Variation” As a Stylistic Device in Pygmalion: Toward A Socio-Stylistic Approach

  •  Adil Mohammed Hamoud Qadha    


In this paper, the author supports the claim that there is an inevitable relationship between language and social class to which a speaker (character) belongs. The paper claims that a literary language is a manifestation of the verbal practices done by real speakers in real communicative situations. The paper illustrates that Bernard Shaw in Pygmalion used the concept of “language variation” as a stylistic device to reveal some significant social aspects of Eliza Doolittle, the main character of the play. Drawing on Basil Bernstein’s distinction between elaborated code and restricted code, the paper compares between Eliza as a low -class illiterate speaker and the same Eliza after having intensive linguistic training by Prof. Higgins. The analysis is based on some selected extracts of Eliza’s speech in different conversational scenes in the play. The paper hypothizes that literary discourse, mainly dialogues, can be treated as an ordinary language used in real conversational situations. The analysis was conducted from phonological, syntactic, pragmatic and sociolinguistic perspectives.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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