Language is an essential phenomenon in human life. It is a means of communication that no other creature of the universe has except humans. Human beings learn the first language unintentionally so they need not pay particular heed for it. Nevertheless, the process of second language learning is more complicated than L1, and it requires particular care, intention, and motivation from the other members of society. In this study, we are going to analyze the SL learning perspectives of the two movies ‘My Fair Lady and English Vinglish.’ Here in COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MOVIES “MY FAIR LADY” AND “ENGLISH VINGLISH” we make a comparison and contrast of both movies per L2 learning. We observe that both movies have the themes of language, class difference, various mental states of the people, relationship, love, and money.
The central theme of both movies is the theme of language, and both protagonists of the movies are in an inferiority complex regarding SL. As “My Fair Lady” starts. Mr. Higgins praises the standard English language and also criticizes the people who do not follow the English language standards. When we come to “English Vinglish,” we find such practices by the Satish, husband of Shashi and her daughter Sapna.
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On the one hand, Mr. Higgins in “My Fair Lady” calls himself, the Professor of Phonetics. As a learned and academic person, it is not suitable for him to humiliate someone. However, he criticizes flower girl Eliza’s language, accent, and pronunciation. Higgins praises Miltonic and Shakespearean language and feels proud as a follower of Queen’s or Hungarian accent. He calls the flower girl Eliza the product of gutter. Higgins criticizes her pronunciation and utterances of the words.
On the other hand, in “English Vinglish” although Satish does not call Shashi, an ill-mannered lady, he behaves in the same manner as Mr. Higgins does with Eliza. ‘Shashi’s husband and daughter show rude behavior, and even, their tone is insulting for Shashi.
So the researcher finds that there is the theme of class difference, mental state, language, and pride at this stage in both movies. These themes are interlinked with each other and move forward with the theme of language. They describe how people are treated based on the language; it’s standards and class differences. As well as the theme of pride is also present in the movies.
Professor Higgins meets Colonel Pickering, who is also a linguist of Indian dialects, especially Sanskrit. How proudly he passes comments, “You see this creature with her curbstone English? The English that will keep her in the gutter till the end of her days?”. The same comments Shashi gets from her daughter. When Shashi’s daughter needs to bring her parents to school for “PTM”. Her father asks her to bring her mother but, she says “Mother needs not to come with her. I will say my father is busy in the office, and my mother is sick.” Here Shashi feels the hidden meanings of her daughter’s words and even Shashi says, “you need to say your mother dies.” various points in both movies go side by side as these are described in COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MOVIES “MY FAIR LADY” AND “ENGLISH VINGLISH”.
Here girl’s attitude is the same as Mr. Higgins’s attitude in “My Fair Lady.” Sapna also criticizes her mother’s pronunciation of the words as; ‘Jazz dance.’ Even after the return from the ‘PTM’ meeting. Sapna behaves rudely with her mother due to the use of her domestic language with her teacher (father). As Shashi returns home, she feels shameful and even asks her husband Satish, Why did he marry her? At this point, she is very disappointed and feels herself a bad-woman. Here Sashi is at the peak of inferiority complex in the context of her language as Eliza feels the inferiority complex of her language when she meets Mr. Higgins first time.
In ‘My Fair Lady’ Eliza makes her mind learn standard English language and comes to Mr. Higgins for a better future and job. She wants to join a flower shop as an assistant. In contrast with the English Vinglish movie, we find that although ‘Shashi’ is a traditional Eastern lady and wants to do her domestic responsibilities. Nevertheless, as she reaches in NEWYORK to attend the marriage of her niece, where she gets the opportunity to learn the English language, she joins English language learning classes to learn it.
When she makes a call to the English language center and knows what the fees and dues for the coaching, even at that point, she has some financial problems, and she cuts off the call to make sure that she has enough money to pay the fees of her coaching. The same thing happens with Eliza in “My Fair Lady.” When Mr. Higgins demands high fees, and she has not the required money to pay Mr. Higgins for her learning. These points focus on the will of the protagonists that how both are willing to become influential speakers of the English language. Both ladies try to manage themselves for their learning to get a better and honorable position in society.
It also describes the importance of standard English language and how language helps people to get better livings. According to the linguistics perspective, no language is superior or inferior. However, when we observe the phenomenon of language from the worldly perspective, we find various distinctions at different levels. Here some languages are considered superior while other inferior. The superiority and inferiority complex regarding language are the prominent elements of both movies.
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in the COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MOVIES “MY FAIR LADY” AND “ENGLISH VINGLISH” we found Both ladies learn their tasks to achieve their desired goals. The themes of love, family, money, and a struggle for a happy life also move side by side in both movies. Although they might be tried for learning English in their routine life, however, every learning indeed requires a particular environment. It is the environment and company that leads to achieving our targets. Until we have no particular environment and company, we can not get the essence of learning that we want. It also shows that our learning and confidence come when someone encourages and appreciates us. Because the environment provides confidence and practice opportunities to the learners, moreover they only use their target language in the learning environment, this practice makes the learners fluent speakers. Because, in the perspective of language phenomenon, as we practice more and more as we learn more.
Learners have other fellows to practice in their environment and company, and this practice leads them to success. As we observe in “My Fair Lady,” Eliza has the opportunity to communicate with Mr.Higgins and Colonel Pickering. Eliza also does practice on different Phonetic instruments that help her to make her learning better and excellent. In this way, her learning becomes mature and excellent, and at last, she becomes the dutches in the Queen’s party. After her speech at Ascot Racecourse and Assembly Ball when Prof. Higgins presented her, she was praised by everybody. Nobody could realize her whether she was a middle-class girl or belong to high society. Everyone is praising her due to her manners, her sophistication, and polished English language. Everyone wants to communicate and dance with her at the party.
In contrast, in “English Vinglish”, Shashi has the practising opportunity with her fellow learners, her teacher and niece. She even listens to the news and watches English movies. In this way, she makes her understanding mature and becomes a successful protagonist. Shashi becomes a proficient speaker of the English language. Moreover, she makes a speech at the marriage party. These points show the importance of socio-lingual factors in the language learning process. Motivation and strong will power also play an essential role in the learning process as both ladies get motivation for their learning from their instructors and fellows. Moreover, both have a strong desire to achieve their goal.
Read also: Review of “English Vinglish”
These points show the protagonists’ utmost efforts to manage themselves in the Machismic society and environment and, with the help of their hard work, they achieve their desired goals. Shashi, the protagonist of the “English Vinglish“, maintains her courage comes back to Satish. On the other hand, Eliza of “My Fair Lady” also returns to Mr. Higgins and join him. She even ignores the love of Hardy. Even both ladies have not any respect and honor with these men. However, both make a compromise. Shashi ignores the affection of her fellow. It also shows her intense love and affection for her family. So, in the end, it can be said that both movies have the same themes and focus on all the essential aspects of life and points necessary for language learning. All Socio-Cultural and Applied Linguistic themes and elements are present in the movies necessary for the learning of a language. So the COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MOVIES “MY FAIR LADY” AND “ENGLISH VINGLISH” describers all common points regarding language learning in both movies.
As Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal says “Failure is not fatal until we surrender, trying, again and again, is a key of glorious victory.” So both protagonists struggle hard and achieve their desired goal and get rid of their inferiority complex of language.
Written Analyesd by: Muhammad Asad Kasra,
M.Phil Scholar, Riphah Institute of Language and Literature, Riphah International University Lahore, Pakistan.