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Why Can't the English?...

Alan Jay Lerner
Language: English



This song is part of the My Fair Lady Musical Soundtrack, 1956. The song was played and interpreted by the character of Henry in My Fair Lady.

This song is dedicated to the insanity of some people who criticize others for the way that they speak and how they despise their accents or their "dialects", so as to call them.

Languages were not meant to belong to a select few, to a specific clan of intellectuals, and or to a pedantic elite of rich men, rather, all languages belong to everyone and to all kinds of people in a global society, regardless of the way they dress, whatever it is they sport, whatever their job is, or whatever salary they earn.

It is absurd to be a "Language Dictator" in modern times, most especially when it is already proven that in about 500 years or so, most, if not all of the current languages will most likely disappear or will be "transformed" into some sort of amalgamated linguistic hybrid.

This being said, Please learn to be kind to others, whether they are Cornish, Scottish, Irish, Australian etc.

Enjoy the song!
Look at her, a prisoner of the gutters,
Condemned by every syllable she utters.
By right she should be taken out and hung,
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.

Yaoooww! Yaoooww!
Heaven's! What a sound!
This is what the British population,
Calls an elementary education.
Oh, Come sir, I think you picked a poor example.

Did I? Hear them down in Soho square,
Dropping "h's" everywhere.
Speaking English any way they like.
Hey you sir, did you go to school?
Wadaya tike me for, a fool?
No one taught him "take" instead of "tike"!

Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,
Hear a Cornishman converse,
And rather hear a choir singing flat.
Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one!
Yaaaawn! Yaaaawn! I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that?

It's "Yeooow" and "Yaaawn" that keep her in her place?
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction, by now,
Should be antique.

If you spoke as she does, sir,
Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowers too!
I beg your pardon sir!

An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him,
The moment he talks he makes some other
Englishman despise him.
One common language I'm afraid we'll never get.
Oh, why can't the English learn to...

Set a good example to people whose
English is painful to your ears?
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English has completely
disappeared.
Well, in America, they haven't used it for years!

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks adopt their
Greek.
In France every Frenchman knows his language from A to Zed...
Well, the French don't care what they do, actually
as long as they pronounce it properly.

Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning.
And the Hebrews learn it backwards,
Which is absolutely frightening.
But use proper English you're regarded as a freak.
Why can't the English,...
Why can't the English learn to speak?

Contributed by Josephine Manuelle - 2014/11/8 - 12:07



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