Sunday, 8 December 2013

Syllable in English Language


SHUAIB ASGHAR
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
GOVT. RAZVIA ISLAMIA COLLEGE
HAROONABAD, PAKISTAN

1. A syllable is a sound, or a group of sounds, produced by a single chest pulse and containing a vowel. e.g. ne-ver-the-less. In other words it is a unit of human speech that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound, although syllables usually consist of one or more sounds.

2. A unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; e.g., there are two syllables in ‘water’ and three in ‘inferno’.

3. A unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme.

Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter and its stress patterns.

Syllabification


Syllabification is the term which refers to the division of a word into syllables. A word containing a single syllable is called monosyllabic (cat), if it contains more than one, the term polysyllabic (contain) is used.

It is not very difficult to identify the syllables in English words

1.    Rat, / r æ t /, (1) (monosyllabic)
2.    Redeem, / r ɪ - d ɪ: m /, (2) (disyllabic)
3.    Humanist, / h j u: - m ə - n ɪ s t /, (3) (trisyllabic)
4.    Degenerate, / d ɪ - dʒ e - n ə - r eɪ t /, (4)
5.    Electricity, / ɪ - l e k - t r ɪ - s ɪ - t ɪ /, (5)  
6.    Characterization, / k æ - r ɪ k - t ə - r aɪ - z eɪʃ ə n /, (6)

Syllable Structure (Onset + Nucleus + Coda)


It will be clear from the words above that the number of syllables in each corresponds to the number of vowel sounds it contains. This rough and ready rule of dividing words into syllables will apply to most words in English.

Each syllable can have one or more consonants before the vowel and one or more after the vowel. In an English syllable, maximum number of consonant cluster before a vowel (initial consonant cluster) is three; while after a vowel (final consonant cluster) is four. Sometimes a syllable is defined as ”a vowel preceded by from zero to three consonants, and followed by from zero to four consonants”. Sometimes a single vowel can serve as a syllable. e.g. a-gain / ə - g eɪ n /

The vowel is essential to the structure of a syllable and is called the nucleus of the syllable. The consonant, on the other hand, is optional.

Consonants before the vowel (nucleus) form the ‘onset’ of the syllable (e.g. / m /, / s /, / pl / in me, so, play); it may be simple onset containing one segment and complex onset containing more than one segment. Consonants after the vowel form ‘coda’ (e.g. / mp /, / nt / in jump and account).

We can analyze the structure of different kinds of syllable.

V = I                               VC = an                           CV = no
CVC = can                        CCV = play                       CCCV = straw
CCCVC = stream                CCCVCC = strange             CVCCC = texts
CCVCCC = stands              CCVCC = spans                 VCC = and, ask

Syllables can be of two types, open and closed. This classification is made on the basis of their ending. Syllables ending in a vowel or diphthong are known as open such as do / d u: / with a CV structure. Those that end in consonants are called closed or checked syllables, such as 'sit' / s i t / with a CVC structure.

Syllable Stress


In a word with two or more syllables, one syllable is stressed (meaning they have a stronger and longer sound) and the other syllables are unstressed or weak (meaning they are not said or pronounced as strong or as long as stressed syllables). Pronounce the words below and note the stressed syllables. The stressed syllable is in bold.

pre-pare        sig-ni-fi-cance         com-pu-ter       in-con-spic-u-ous

An extra prominence is given to these bold syllables. In other words, stress is the degree of force that is used to pronounce a syllable. Some languages like English are stress-timed. In such languages, stress carries meaning. For example, in disyllabic (having two syllables) words like ‘permit’ if we stress the first syllable / 'pəmit /, it is a noun and if we stress the second syllable / pə'mit /, it becomes a verb.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Comedy of Manners

SHUAIB ASGHAR
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
GOVT. RAZVIA ISLAMIA COLLEGE
HAROONABAD, PAKISTAN

Comedy of Manners is a name given to witty, intellectual form of dramatic comedy that depicts and often satirizes the manners and affectations of a contemporary society. The plot of such a comedy usually concerned with an illicit love affair or similarly scandalous matter. It also consists witty dialogue and pungent commentary on human foibles.

Plays of this type are typically set in the world of the upper class, and ridicule the pretensions of those who consider themselves socially superior, deflating them with satire. With witty dialogue and cleverly constructed scenarios, comedies of manners comment on the standards and mores of society and explore the relationships of the sexes. Marriage is a frequent subject. Typically, there is little depth of characterization; instead, the playwrights used stock character types—the fool, the schemer, the hypocrite, the jealous husband, the interfering old parents—and constructed plots with rapid twists in events, often precipitated by miscommunications. 

Put simply, the comedy of manners is a style of comedy that reflects the life, ideals and manners of upper class society in a way that is essentially true to its traditions and philosophy. The players must strive to maintain the mask of social artifice whilst revealing to the audience what lies behind such manners. In other words it is to make: The real artificial and the artificial real.

In England the Comedy of Manners had its great day during the Restoration period. Although influenced by Ben Jonson’s comedy of humours, the Restoration comedy of Manners was lighter, defter and more vivacious in tone. The chief practitioners of this comedy were Sir George Etherge, William Wycherley, William Congreve, Sir John Vanbrugh, George Farquhar.

          In the late 18th century Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan revived the form.

The tradition of elaborate, artificial plotting and epigrammatic dialogue was carried on by the Anglo-Irish playwright Oscar Wilde in Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest during the 19th century.

          In the 20th century the comedy of manners reappeared in the witty, sophisticated drawing-room plays of the British dramatists Noel Coward and Somerset Maugham and the American Philip Barry and S.N. Behrman.

          Chiefly the Restoration Age (1660-1700) is associated with the rise and development of Comedy of Manners. To any other age, except this one, manners are only an artificial aspect of a personality of man, something which is acquired and learnt; therefore, Restoration Comedy also came to be known as Artificial Comedy. It tended to laugh at the people out of their follies. That is why it is called Critical Comedy too.

Realism, Social Analysis And Satire


          Unlike the Elizabethan romantic comedy, the comedy of Manners is characterized by realism, social analysis and satire. Its use of prose served to heighten the realistic effect. These dramatists held a mirror to the finer society of their age. They portrayed the sophisticated life of the dominating class of society—its gaiety, foppery, insolence and intrigue. The scene of most comedies of manners is London, more specifically its coffee-and–chocolate houses, clubs, and gambling houses which were the haunts of the corrupt and fashionable ladies and gentlemen of the age. Women, visits, conversation, wit, manners and love affairs are the chief themes of these comedies. Gallantry was the most fashionable vocation of men, and coquetry and flirtation of women.

In ‘The Way of the World’, the phrase ‘the way of the world’ has been recurrently used, for example, Fainall first uses it in Act 2: ‘the Ways of Wedlock and this World’, and repeats in the third act: ‘all in the Way of the World’ and also in the final act, and at the end Mirabell's mocking approach: ‘'tis the Way of the World, Sir; of the Widows of the World’. This repetitive motif makes it clear that the play is concerned with the problems of the social system.

Witty Dialogues


          Both the heroes and heroines are extremely witty and clever. In fact gallantry or coquetry and wit went hand in hand. The art of conversation was a weapon for a man and a ‘special grace of the lady’. In fact the age was proud of its refinement of wit and conversation. Millament, the heroine of Congreve’s ‘The Way of the World’, is perhaps the wittiest heroine in Restoration Comedy. In her Congreve’s wit reaches its highest watermark. She is not only herself witty but demands wit in others too.

In ‘The School for Scandal’ the conversation between the Teazles is one of the excellent examples of Sheridan’s wit.

Hypocrisy


          Another striking feature of the inhabitants of Restoration Comedy was their hypocrisy. As the new values took hold over the younger generation, the older generation too tried to follow suit. But as it always happens they are never the complete converts. In their attempt to become fashionable, they practice the prevalent mode of living but their basic sensibility is still steeped in the old ideals. This difference between the inner and external life of persons encouraged hypocrisy. Of course, this was more prominent in the older generation and in those who are supposed to be the inferior characters. The most memorable quotes in the Restoration Comedy are Lady Fidget’s ‘Do not use the word naked’. Again she words this spirit of hypocrisy in ‘The Country Wife’:

‘Why should you not think that we, women, make use of our reputation, as you men of yours, only to deceive the world with less suspicion’.

Intrigues


The intrigue, in the plot of ‘The School for Scandal’, is a significant theme, and has been used as a tool to satirize the degradation and follies in the social and individual behaviors.

This intrigue is best expressed via the hide-and-seek between the Fainalls. Both the husband and the wife lack love, faith and adjustment. They hate each other; get involved in extra-marital affair, yet, both pretend to be extremely loving to each other in front of others. Fainall bears his marital life since his sole concern is his wife's money. And, this is the money which makes Marwood play love-game with Fainall. Mirabell, too, plays with innocent Wishfort to get her niece. So, all are planning and scheming against one another for their own sake.

Must-Prepare Topics for Criticism


THE POETICS (335 BC) by ARISTOTLE (384 BC-322 BC)


1.    Concept Of Tragedy
2.    Ideal Tragic Hero/ Concept Of Hamartia
3.    The Plot Of A Tragedy
4.    Theory Of Imitation
5.    The Function Of Tragedy/ Its Emotional Effects/ Catharsis
6.     The Three Unities

THE PREFACE TO SHAKESPEARE (1765) by DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784)


1.    Brief Synopsis Of The Preface To Shakespeare
2.    The Unities
3.    Didactic Approach
4.    Justification Of Tragi-Comedy
5.    Appreciation Of Shakespeare’s Merits
6.    Faults Of Shakespeare

PREFACE TO LYRICAL BALLADS (1800) by WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850)


1.    Historical Significance Of ‘The Preface To The Lyrical Ballads’
2.    Theory Of Poetry
3.    Theory Of Poetic Process
4.    Themes And Treatment Of Poetry
5.    Poetic Diction
6.    Qualification And Nature Of A Poet
7.    Views On Metre

BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA (1817) by SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834)


1.    Theory Of Imagination
2.    Difference Between Imagination And Fancy
3.    Willing Suspension Of Disbelief
4.    Views On Metre
5.    Nature And Function Of Poetry
6.    Criticism Of Wordsworth’s Theory Of Poetic Diction
7.    Coleridge As A Critic

        THE FUNCTION OF CRITICISM (1865), THE STUDY OF POETRY (1880) by MATHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888)


                  1.    Theory Of Poetry
2.    Three Estimates Of Poetry
3.    The Function Of Criticism
4.    Qualification Of A Critic
5.    A General Estimate Of Arnold As A Critic

TRADITION AND INDIVIDUAL TALENT (1919), HAMLET (1920), 

THE METAPHYSICAL POETS (1921) by T. S. ELIOT (1888-1965)

         1.    Theory Of Traditions
2.    Function / Role Of Poetry
3.    Views On The Nature Of Poetic Process / Theory Of Impersonality
4.    Objective Correlative
5.    Views On Shakespeare’s Hamlet
6.    Views On The Metaphysical Poets
7.    Eliot As A Critic

THE WELL WROUGHT URN by CLEANTH BROOKS (1906-1994)


1.    Wordsworth And The Paradox Of Imagination
2.     Keats’ Sylvan Historian
3.     Yeats’ Great Rooted Blossomer

Critical evaluation of any piece of literature will also be given for 20 marks. The Students are required to practice some well-known poems and passages regarding the theme, subject, figures of speech, musical devices etc.

Must-Prepare Topics for Prose


ESSAYS (1625) by FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626)


OF TRUTH, OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE, OF GREAT PLACE, OF FRIENDSHIP, OF STUDIES, OF REVENGE, OF LOVE, OF TRAVEL, OF EMPIRE, OF RICHES, OF GARDENS, OF NOBILITY, OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN, OF DISCOURSE, OF YOUTH AND AGE, OF DEATH, OF ADVERSITY, OF ENVY, OF SUSPICION etc.

1.    Prose Style Of Bacon
2.    Bacon’s Worldly Wisdom/ Machiavellism
3.    A Reflection Of Renaissance Spirit
4.    Bacon As A Moralist
5.    Bacon As An Essayist

GULLIVER’S TRAVELS (1726) by JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745)


1.    A Neurotic Fantasy / Swift As A Misanthropist
2.    Satire In Gulliver’s Travels
3.    A Tale Of Adventure And Wonder
4.    Character Sketch Of Lemuel Gulliver

ON LIBERTY (1859) by JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873)


1.    Views On Liberty Of Thoughts And Discussion
2.    Concept Of Individuality
3.    Concept Of Public Opinion And Individual Opinion

EMINENT VICTORIANS (1918) by LYTTON STRACHEY (1880-1932)

CARDINAL MANNING, FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, THOMAS ARNOLD, GENERAL GORDON

1.    Strachey As A Biographer
2.    The Portrait Of Florence Nightingale

ADONIS AND THE ALPHABET (1956) by ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963)
       
      EDUCATION OF AN AMPHIBIAN--KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING--THE DESERT—
      LIBERTY, QUALITY, MACHINERY--ADONIS AND THE ALPHABET

1.    The Difference Between Knowledge And Understanding
2.    Spiritual Insight
3.    Salient Features Of Huxley’s Prose Style
4.    Evaluation Of Essays ‘Adonis And The Alphabet’ And ‘The Education Of An Amphibian’
5.    Aldous Huxley, As An Essayist

SCEPTICAL ESSAYS (1998) by BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970)


ON THE VALUE OF SCEPTICISM, MACHINES AND EMOTIONS, EASTERN AND WESTERN IDEALS OF HAPPINESS, THE HARM THAT GOOD MEN DO, THE NEED FOR POLITICAL SCEPTICISM, FREEDOM VERSUS AUTHORITY IN EDUCATION, PHILOSOPHY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, CAN MEN BE RATIONAL etc.

1.    Russell As A Rationalist / Sceptic / Atheist
2.    Need Of Scepticism
3.    Russell’s Prose Style


Must-Prepare Topics for Modern Drama



THE WILD DUCK by HENRIK IBSEN 


1.    Theme Of Illusion And Reality
2.    Symbolism
3.    Dramatic Irony
4.    Plot And Structure
5.    An Assessment Of Ibsen As A Dramatist

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by OSCAR WILDE


1.    An Artificial Comedy / A Farcical Comedy
2.    Wit And Dialogues
3.    Plot Construction
4.    Portrayal Of Female Characters

PYGMALION by GEORGE BERNARD SHAW


1.    A Problem Play / Drama Of Ideas
2.    Theme
3.    Ending Of The Play
4.    Comic Elements
5.    Bernard Shaw As A Dramatist

WAITING FOR GODOT by SAMUEL BECKETT

 

1.    A Tragic Comedy
2.    Theme Of Time And Identity
3.    As An Absurd Play
4.    Who Is Godot?
5.    Symbolism
6.    Samuel Beckett As A Dramatist

LOOK BACK IN ANGER by JOHN OSBORNE


1.    Character Sketches Of Jimmy And Alison
2.    Bear And Squirrel Episode
3.    Theme Of The Play
4.    A Psychological Play
5.    Plot Construction

THE CARETAKER by HAROLD PINTER


1.    As An Absurd Play
2.    Role Of Dream And Illusion
3.    Realism / Social Criticism


1.    Trends In Modern Drama
2.    Comedy Of Manners
3.    Problem Plays / Drama Of Ideas
4.    Theatre Of The Absurd