On Language

On Language

On Language

On Language

Excerpt

George Bernard Shaw, probably the best known writer of modern times, was so popular that he is known and recognized by his initials alone--GBS.

The basis for Shaw's global fame is, of course, his reputation as an intellect and a dramatist. But very many people know GBS because of his activities and writings on the subject of language --the theme of this book--as well as for the literary prowess that brought him the Nobel Prize in 1925.

Shaw is frequently associated with his innovation of the story of a "fish"--spelled "ghoti"--the "gh" of laugh, the "o" of women, and the "ti" of nation-the transliteration "ghoti" representing the sounds of the word "fish," as well as the irrational and inconsistent nature of English spelling. GBS carried on a crusade for Alphabet and Spelling Reform that attracted international attention--culminating in the publicity and controversy over his Will, and the publication of the Shaw Alphabet Edition of Androcles and the Lion.

Bernard Shaw's writings--including plays, essays, letters and novels--reflected an early interest in the broad field of language. He dealt with spelling and alphabet reform; better speech and communication; phonetics, dialects and accents; international language and punctuation! Pygmalion, Shaw's play on which the musical My Fair Lady is based, is perhaps the best known example of his writings on these subjects. But Shaw pursued his catholie interest in these matters in a constant stream, spanning almost seventy-five years of creative production.

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