en-es  Pygmalion by G. B. Shaw-0 Hard
PREFACIO A PIGMALIÓN
Un profesior de fonética
Como se verá más adelante, Pigmalión necesita no un prefacio sino una secuela, que he suministrado en su debido lugar. Los ingleses no respetan su idioma y no enseñarán a sus hijos a hablarlo. Lo deletrean tan abominablemente que ningún hombre puede enseñarse a sí mismo cómo suena. Es imposible para un inglés abrir la boca sin hacer que otro inglés lo odie o lo desprecie. El alemán y el español son accesibles a los extranjeros: el inglés no lo es, ni siquiera para los ingleses. El reformador que necesita Inglaterra hoy en día es un enérgico apasionado de la fonética: es por eso que hice de un hombre así el héroe de una obra popular. Ha habido héroes de este tipo clamando en el desierto durante muchos años. Cuando comencé a interesarme por este tema hacia final de la década de los 70 del siglo XIX, Melville Bell había muerto; pero Alexander J. Ellis era todavía un patriarca vivo, con una impresionante cabeza siempre cubierta por una gorra de terciopelo, por la que se disculparía en las reuniones públicas de forma muy elegante. Él y Tito Pagliardini, otro veterano de la fonética, eran hombres por los que era imposible no sentir simpatía. Henry Sweet, un joven entonces, carecía de su carácter amable: era tan conciliador con los mortales convencionales como Ibsen o Samuel Butler. Su gran habilidad como fonetista (fue, creo, el mejor de todos en su trabajo) le habría otorgado un alto reconocimiento oficial y quizás le hubiera permitido popularizar su materia, de no ser por su desprecio satánico por todos los dignatarios académicos y personas en general que estimaban más el griego que la fonética. Una vez, en los días en que el Imperial Institute se levantaba en South Kensington y Joseph Chamberlain era el floreciente auge del Imperio, induje al editor de una importante revista mensual a encargar un artículo de Sweet acerca de la importancia imperial de su materia. Cuando llegó, no contenía nada más que un ataque brutalmente burlón a un profesor de lengua y literatura, cuya cátedra Sweet consideraba como propia solamente para un experto en fonética. El artículo, siendo difamatorio, tuvo que devolverse como imposible; y debí renunciar a mi sueño de arrastrar a su autor al centro de la atención. Cuando lo volví a encontrar después de muchos años, me sorprendí al ver que él, que había sido un joven bastante tolerablemente presentable, había logrado, por pura burla, alterar su apariencia personal hasta convertirse en una especie de repudio andante a Oxford y todas sus tradiciones. Debe haber sido en gran parte por su propia cuenta, a pesar de que allí fue metido a la fuerza en algo llamado Lectores de fonética. El futuro de la fonética probablemente depende de sus estudiantes, que confiaban en él; pero nada podía llevar al hombre a ningún tipo de conformidad a la universidad, a lo cual se aferraba sin embargo por derecho divino de manera oxoniana. Me atrevo a decir que sus artículos, si ha dejado algunos, incluyen algunas sátiras que pueden ser publicadas sin resultados demasiado devastadores en cinquenta años a partir de entonces. Creo que no fue un hombre malvado, en lo más minimo: más bien lo contrario, debería decir; pero no soportaba mucho a los tontos.
Aquellos que lo conocieron reconocerán en mi tercer acto la alusión a la taquigrafía patente en la que solía escribir postales, y que se puede adquirir de un manual de cuatro chelines y seis peniques publicado por Clarendon Press. Las postales que describe la Sra. Higgins son como las que he recibido de Sweet. Yo descifraría un sonido que un cockney representaría por zerr y un francés por seu, y entonces escribiría preguntando algo indignado qué diablos significaba. Sweet, con un ilimitado desprecio por mi estupidez, replicaría que no solamente significaba Result sino que era obviamente esa palabra, ya que no existía en ningún idioma hablado en la tierra otra palabra conteniendo ese sonido y capaz de hacer sentido en el contexto. Que los mortales menos expertos requirieran indicaciones más completas estaba por encima de la paciencia de Sweet. Por lo tanto, aunque el punto central de su "taquigrafía actual" es que se puede expresar perfectamente todos los sonidos del idioma, tanto vocales como consonantes, y que la mano no debe dar ningún golpe, excepto los fáciles y corrientes con los que se escriben m, n y u, l, p y q, garabateándolas en el ángulo que sea más fácil, su desafortunada decisión de hacer que este notable y legible texto también sirva como taquigrafía lo redujo, en su propia práctica, al más indescifrable de los criptogramas. Su verdadero objetivo era proporcionar una escritura completa, precisa y legible para nuestro lenguaje noble pero mal vestido; pero su desprecio por el popular sistema Pitman de taquigrafía, al que llamó el sistema Pitfall (inconveniente), lo llevó más allá de eso.. El triunfo de Pitman fue un triunfo de la organización empresarial: había un semanario para persuadir de que se aprendiera el Pitman: había libros de texto y cuadernos de ejercicios baratos, transcripciones de discursos para copiarlos y escuelas, donde maestros experimentados preparaban para adquirir la aptitud necesaria. Sweet no pudo organizar su mercado de esa manera. Él bien podría haber sido la sibila que rompió las hojas de la profecía a la que nadie atendería. El manual de cuatro y seis peniques, principalmente en su escrituria litografiada, que nunca fue publicitado vulgarmente, podría ser recogido un día por un sindicato y entregado para el público como The Times entregó la Encyclopaedia Britannica; pero hasta entonces, no prevalecerá contra Pitman. He comprado tres copias de este durante toda mi vida; y los editores me informan que su existencia aislada aún es constante y sana. En realidad, aprendí el segundo sistema muchas veces; y aún la taquigrafía, que uso para escribir estas líneas, es de Pitman. Y la razón es que mi secretaria no sabe transcribir Sweet, porque ella había sido forzada de estudiar en las escuelas de Pitman. Entonces, Sweet criticó a Pitman en vano como Tersites criticó a Ayax: su burla, que no obstante, puede haber aliviado su alma, no puso de moda la Current Shorthand. El Higgins de Pigmalión no es un retrato de Sweet, para quien la aventura de Eliza Doolittle hubiera sido imposible; aún así, como se verá, hay toques de Sweet en la obra. Con el físico y el temperamento de Higgins, Sweet podría haber incendiado el Támesis. En todo caso, él impresionó en tal grado en Europa que su olvido personal comparativo, y la incapacidad de Oxford para hacer justicia a su eminencia, fueron una enigma para los especialistas de la materia. No culpo a Oxford, porque pienso que Oxford tiene razón en pedir una cierta amenidad social de sus protegidos ( ¡el cielo sabe que no requiere mucho! ); porque aunque conozco muy bien cuán duro es para un hombre genial con un tema seriamente menospreciado mantener relaciones serenas y amables con hombres que le subestiman, y quienes guardan todas las mejores retribuciones para temas menos importantes lo que manifiestan sin originalidad, y algunas veces sin muchas capacidades, pero si él les desborda con furor y desdén, no puede esperar ser cubierto de honores por ellos.
De las siguientes generaciones de fonetistas, conozco muy poco. Entre ellos se destaca el Poet Laureate, a quien quizás Higgins debe sus simpatías por Milton, aunque, otra vez, debo negar todo intento de retrato. Pero si la obra conciencia al público de que hay personas como los fonetistas, y que éstos están entre las personas más importantes de Inglaterra en la actualidad, habrá cumplido su cometido.
Deseo alardear de que Pigmalión ha sido una obra exitosa en extremo, tanto en toda Europa y Norteamérica como en casa. Es tan intensa y deliberadamente didáctica y su tema se considera tan seco, que me deleito en arrojarla a las cabezas de los sabelotodos que repiten como papagayos que el arte nunca debería ser didáctico. Esto demuestra mi opinión de que el arte nunca debería ser otra cosa.
Finalmente, y para animar a las personas preocupadas por los acentos que las alejan de todo empleo importante, me permito añadir que el cambio forjado por el profesor Higgins en la florista no es ni imposible ni inusual. La moderna hija del conserje que cumple su ambición interpretando a la Reina de España en Ruy Blas en el Theatre Francais es solo una de los miles de hombres y mujeres que han abandonado sus dialectos nativos y han adquirido una nueva forma de hablar. Pero la cosa tiene que hacerse científicamente, o el estado final del aspirante puede ser peor que el inicial. Un honesto y natural dialecto marginal es más tolerable que el intento de una persona fonéticamente ignorante de imitar la jerga vulgar del club de golf; y lamento decir que a pesar de los esfuerzos de nuestra Academia de Arte Dramático, todavía hay demasiados simulacros de inglés golfístico en nuestro escenario y muy poco del noble inglés de Forbes Robertson.
unit 1
PREFACE TO PYGMALION.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 4 days ago
unit 2
A Professor of Phonetics.
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unit 4
The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it.
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unit 5
They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 4 days ago
unit 7
German and Spanish are accessible to foreigners: English is not accessible even to Englishmen.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 4 days ago
unit 9
There have been heroes of that kind crying in the wilderness for many years past.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 4 days ago
unit 11
He and Tito Pagliardini, another phonetic veteran, were men whom it was impossible to dislike.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 4 days ago
unit 23
The postcards which Mrs. Higgins describes are such as I have received from Sweet.
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unit 26
That less expert mortals should require fuller indications was beyond Sweet's patience.
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unit 30
Sweet could not organize his market in that fashion.
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unit 31
unit 38
With Higgins's physique and temperament Sweet might have set the Thames on fire.
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unit 42
Of the later generations of phoneticians I know little.
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unit 47
It goes to prove my contention that art should never be anything else.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
terehola • 6412  commented on  unit 48  1 week, 2 days ago
Boot2 • 6085  commented on  unit 48  1 week, 2 days ago
soybeba • 2576  commented  1 week, 6 days ago

Extraído de The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3825/3825-h/3825-h.htm

by soybeba 1 week, 6 days ago

PREFACE TO PYGMALION.
A Professor of Phonetics.
As will be seen later on, Pygmalion needs, not a preface, but a sequel, which I have supplied in its due place. The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They spell it so abominably that no man can teach himself what it sounds like. It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him. German and Spanish are accessible to foreigners: English is not accessible even to Englishmen. The reformer England needs today is an energetic phonetic enthusiast: that is why I have made such a one the hero of a popular play. There have been heroes of that kind crying in the wilderness for many years past. When I became interested in the subject towards the end of the eighteen-seventies, Melville Bell was dead; but Alexander J. Ellis was still a living patriarch, with an impressive head always covered by a velvet skull cap, for which he would apologize to public meetings in a very courtly manner. He and Tito Pagliardini, another phonetic veteran, were men whom it was impossible to dislike. Henry Sweet, then a young man, lacked their sweetness of character: he was about as conciliatory to conventional mortals as Ibsen or Samuel Butler. His great ability as a phonetician (he was, I think, the best of them all at his job) would have entitled him to high official recognition, and perhaps enabled him to popularize his subject, but for his Satanic contempt for all academic dignitaries and persons in general who thought more of Greek than of phonetics. Once, in the days when the Imperial Institute rose in South Kensington, and Joseph Chamberlain was booming the Empire, I induced the editor of a leading monthly review to commission an article from Sweet on the imperial importance of his subject. When it arrived, it contained nothing but a savagely derisive attack on a professor of language and literature whose chair Sweet regarded as proper to a phonetic expert only. The article, being libelous, had to be returned as impossible; and I had to renounce my dream of dragging its author into the limelight. When I met him afterwards, for the first time for many years, I found to my astonishment that he, who had been a quite tolerably presentable young man, had actually managed by sheer scorn to alter his personal appearance until he had become a sort of walking repudiation of Oxford and all its traditions. It must have been largely in his own despite that he was squeezed into something called a Readership of phonetics there. The future of phonetics rests probably with his pupils, who all swore by him; but nothing could bring the man himself into any sort of compliance with the university, to which he nevertheless clung by divine right in an intensely Oxonian way. I daresay his papers, if he has left any, include some satires that may be published without too destructive results fifty years hence. He was, I believe, not in the least an ill-natured man: very much the opposite, I should say; but he would not suffer fools gladly.
Those who knew him will recognize in my third act the allusion to the patent Shorthand in which he used to write postcards, and which may be acquired from a four and six-penny manual published by the Clarendon Press. The postcards which Mrs. Higgins describes are such as I have received from Sweet. I would decipher a sound which a cockney would represent by zerr, and a Frenchman by seu, and then write demanding with some heat what on earth it meant. Sweet, with boundless contempt for my stupidity, would reply that it not only meant but obviously was the word Result, as no other Word containing that sound, and capable of making sense with the context, existed in any language spoken on earth. That less expert mortals should require fuller indications was beyond Sweet's patience. Therefore, though the whole point of his "Current Shorthand" is that it can express every sound in the language perfectly, vowels as well as consonants, and that your hand has to make no stroke except the easy and current ones with which you write m, n, and u, l, p, and q, scribbling them at whatever angle comes easiest to you, his unfortunate determination to make this remarkable and quite legible script serve also as a Shorthand reduced it in his own practice to the most inscrutable of cryptograms. His true objective was the provision of a full, accurate, legible script for our noble but ill-dressed language; but he was led past that by his contempt for the popular Pitman system of Shorthand, which he called the Pitfall system. The triumph of Pitman was a triumph of business organization: there was a weekly paper to persuade you to learn Pitman: there were cheap textbooks and exercise books and transcripts of speeches for you to copy, and schools where experienced teachers coached you up to the necessary proficiency. Sweet could not organize his market in that fashion. He might as well have been the Sybil who tore up the leaves of prophecy that nobody would attend to. The four and six-penny manual, mostly in his lithographed handwriting, that was never vulgarly advertized, may perhaps some day be taken up by a syndicate and pushed upon the public as The Times pushed the Encyclopaedia Britannica; but until then it will certainly not prevail against Pitman. I have bought three copies of it during my lifetime; and I am informed by the publishers that its cloistered existence is still a steady and healthy one. I actually learned the system two several times; and yet the shorthand in which I am writing these lines is Pitman's. And the reason is, that my secretary cannot transcribe Sweet, having been perforce taught in the schools of Pitman. Therefore, Sweet railed at Pitman as vainly as Thersites railed at Ajax: his raillery, however it may have eased his soul, gave no popular vogue to Current Shorthand. Pygmalion Higgins is not a portrait of Sweet, to whom the adventure of Eliza Doolittle would have been impossible; still, as will be seen, there are touches of Sweet in the play. With Higgins's physique and temperament Sweet might have set the Thames on fire. As it was, he impressed himself professionally on Europe to an extent that made his comparative personal obscurity, and the failure of Oxford to do justice to his eminence, a puzzle to foreign specialists in his subject. I do not blame Oxford, because I think Oxford is quite right in demanding a certain social amenity from its nurslings (heaven knows it is not exorbitant in its requirements!); for although I well know how hard it is for a man of genius with a seriously underrated subject to maintain serene and kindly relations with the men who underrate it, and who keep all the best places for less important subjects which they profess without originality and sometimes without much capacity for them, still, if he overwhelms them with wrath and disdain, he cannot expect them to heap honors on him.
Of the later generations of phoneticians I know little. Among them towers the Poet Laureate, to whom perhaps Higgins may owe his Miltonic sympathies, though here again I must disclaim all portraiture. But if the play makes the public aware that there are such people as phoneticians, and that they are among the most important people in England at present, it will serve its turn.
I wish to boast that Pygmalion has been an extremely successful play all over Europe and North America as well as at home. It is so intensely and deliberately didactic, and its subject is esteemed so dry, that I delight in throwing it at the heads of the wiseacres who repeat the parrot cry that art should never be didactic. It goes to prove my contention that art should never be anything else.
Finally, and for the encouragement of people troubled with accents that cut them off from all high employment, I may add that the change wrought by Professor Higgins in the flower girl is neither impossible nor uncommon. The modern concierge's daughter who fulfils her ambition by playing the Queen of Spain in Ruy Blas at the Theatre Francais is only one of many thousands of men and women who have sloughed off their native dialects and acquired a new tongue. But the thing has to be done scientifically, or the last state of the aspirant may be worse than the first. An honest and natural slum dialect is more tolerable than the attempt of a phonetically untaught person to imitate the vulgar dialect of the golf club; and I am sorry to say that in spite of the efforts of our Academy of Dramatic Art, there is still too much sham golfing English on our stage, and too little of the noble English of Forbes Robertson.