Short Essay Questions Key
1. Why does the English language need to be reformed, according to Shaw?
The English language uses an old, foreign alphabet that cannot represent all the vowel sounds. It needs a new phonetic alphabet so that it can be spelled the way it sounds and people can learn to pronounce it correctly.
2. What makes some English people despise others? What can we infer would solve this problem?
They speak with different accents, or dialects. If all speak the same way, it would be one less reason for people to look down on one another.
3. Who are Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, and Henry Sweet, and why are they heroes to Shaw?
They are all phoneticians. Shaw thinks of these men as heroes because, like him, they want to reform the language.
4. Describe Henry Sweet.
Henry Sweet, in Shaw's Pygmalion, is a professor at Oxford University and an expert phonetician. He creates a phonetic system of writing called Current Shorthand. According to Shaw, Sweet could do much more to popularize the subject, but his cantankerous personality keeps him from doing so. Henry Higgins is based in part on Sweet.
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