Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

A Pragmastylistic Analysis of Pygmalion

Author ZhaoWenZhu
Tutor XuYouZhi
School Henan University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Pygmalion pragmastylistics dramatic texts
CLC H315
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Stylistics is a discipline which applies linguistic theories to the study of style whilepragmatics is an important branch of linguistics, which mainly studies language in use. Inorder to make stylistic analysis of literary works more complete, scientific and objective, it isnecessary to take pragmatics into consideration. Recently, with the rapid development ofpragmatics and stylistics, the combination of these two branches comes into being, thusdeveloping a new interdisciplinary approach–pragmastylistics, which studies the literary textby adopting linguistic theories for the purpose of achieving the stylistic significance bydifferent language choices.Pygmalion has been one of Bernard Shaw’s most popular dramas since its production in1912. It tells a story about how a poor flower girl transforms into a noble lady by simplychanging her language at the help of a linguist. With a very interesting plot and highlyfeatured characters’ speeches, Pygmalion carries a deep theme–exposing the ugly faces ofthe exploiting class and revealing some contemporary social problems shadowed by theVictorian Times,so this drama is of great research value. Despite the fact that both domesticand foreign scholars have made an analysis or comment on this drama by adopting varioustheories from different angles, few people have expounded it from the pragmastylisticperspective so far.This thesis chooses two pragmatic theories–the Cooperative Principle and thePoliteness Principle. The Politeness Principle is composed of two parts: Leech’s PolitenessPrinciple and Brown&Levinson’s Face Theory. The Cooperative Principle and its maximsare usually applied to explain how an utterance can be used to deliver implicatures while thePoliteness Principle and its maxims are often used to explain why choosing to deliver such implicatures. Therefore,these two principles should be complementary to each other. Theauthor will combine these two principles together and treat them as an integrated analyticaltool to analyze the dramatic text of Pygmalion.The analysis of the dramatic text consists of two parts: stage directions and dialogues.Many examples selected from Pygmalion will be analyzed by adopting the CP and the PP.Through detailed analysis of the compliance and the violation of the CP and the PP, the authorstudies the deep meaning of different language choices and the stylistic effects thus achieved.The pragmastylistic approach to the dramatic text is of great stylistic significance in revealingthe characterization of different characters and the theme construction, which shed light onthe dynamic development of the plot and the demonstration of the writer’s writing skills.Meanwhile, the pragamastylistic approach to the dramatic text of Pygmalion can be used totest the feasibility and applicability of applying pragmastylistic theories to literary works. Theauthor hopes that the pragmastylistic analysis of the drama language in Pygmalion canprovide a new perspective to understand and appreciate this drama and at the same time shedsome light on the study and appreciation of other literary works in a general sense.

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