Why Can't the English?

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Rex Harrison

Sir Reginald Carey Harrison (5 March 1908 – 2 June 1990), known as Rex Harrison, was an English actor of stage and screen. Harrison began his career on the stage in 1924. He served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, reaching the rank of flight lieutenant. He won his first Tony Award for his performance as Henry VIII in the play Anne of the Thousand Days in 1949. He won his second Tony for the role of Professor Henry Higgins in the stage production of My Fair Lady in 1957. He reprised the role for the 1964 film version, which earned him both a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Actor. In addition to his stage career, Harrison also appeared in numerous films, including Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947),… more »


Year:
1959
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Henry Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter, 
Condemned by every syllable she ever uttered. 
By law she should be taken out and hung, 
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue. 

Eliza Aaoooww! Henry imitating her Aaoooww! 
Heaven's! What a noise! 
This is what the British population, 
Calls an elementary education. Pickering Oh, 

Counsel, I think you picked a poor example. Henry Did I? 
Hear them down in Soho square, 
Dropping "h's" everywhere. 
Speaking English anyway they like. 

You sir, did you go to school? 
Man Wadaya tike me for, a fool? 
Henry No one taught him 'take' instead of 'tike! 
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? 

This verbal class distinction, by now, 
Should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, 
Instead of the way you do, 
Why, you might be selling flowers, too! 

Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse, 
Hear a Cornishman converse, 
I'd rather hear a choir singing flat.
Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one! 

Eliza Garn! Henry I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that? 
It's "Aoooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place. 
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? 

This verbal class distinction by now should be antique. 
If you spoke as she does, sir, Instead of the way you do, 
Why, you might be selling flowers, too. 
An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him, 

The moment he talks he makes some other 
Englishman despise him.
One common language I'm afraid we'll never get. 
Oh, why can't the English learn to set 

A good example to people whose 
English is painful to your ears? 
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. 
There even are places where English completely

Disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years! 
Why can't the English teach their children how to speak? 
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks have taught their 
Greek. In France every Frenchman knows 

His language fro "A" to "Zed" 
The French never care what they do, actually, 
As long as they pronounce in properly. 
Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning. 

And Hebrews learn it backwards, 
Which is absolutely frightening. 
But use proper English you're regarded as a freak. 
Why can't the English,

Why can't the English learn to speak?

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Written by: ALAN JAY LERNER, FREDERICK LOEWE

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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