An elegant lady or a flower girl? A critical discourse analysis of pygmalion through a systemic functional perspective

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Ali Rahimi
Hamideh Nami Anarjan

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the language of the main female character called Eliza in the play ‘Pygmalion’ by Bernard Shaw. This analysis is done by applying the transitivity system, which is part of English linguist Halliday’s (1985; 1994) systemic-functional grammar. According to the transitivity system, verbs can be classified into six processes: material, mental, relational, verbal, behavioural and existential. The most important ones, which are analysed in the play Pygmalion for the analysis of power status, are the material, mental and relational processes. When considering the pattern of participant representation in a text from the perspective of critical discourse analysis, it is useful to have some general sense of the types of participants, which tend to be construed grammatically as powerful and of those which are construed as less powerful or even powerless. The investigation is based on the ideas suggested by Goatly (2000) who made the interesting suggestion that we may construct a hierarchy of participant power relations in a text based on their roles in different types of clauses and processes. The results show that Eliza's change of power status has an effect on her role as a participant in clauses and processes in the play that is in accordance with Goatly's (2000) theory about participants' power hierarchy in process types.


Keywords: CDA, systemic functional grammar, transitivity, power, participant role.

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How to Cite
Rahimi, A., & Nami Anarjan, H. (2019). An elegant lady or a flower girl? A critical discourse analysis of pygmalion through a systemic functional perspective. International Journal of New Trends in Social Sciences, 3(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.18844/ijntss.v3i1.4453
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