Pygmalion

Speaking well it not just about getting your accent and pronunciation right, as Miss Eliza Doolitle so clearly illustrates in this short excerpt video from the 1938 film adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion.  When Elize was picked up by Professor Higgins from the gutter, she could only speak in a crude, thick Cockney accent.  He then taught her proper, genteel pronunciation, and as you can see in the video, she manages fairly well – as far as pronunciation and mannerisms go.  Good conversational skills cannot be rehearsed, and no amount of practice would be able to prepare you for the real thing; the only way you can practice IS to actively engage in the “real thing”, that is, to talk to people, even at the risk of discomfort and embarrassing yourself.

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