"Here them down in Soho square dropping 'hs' everywhere, speaking English anyway they like ... in America they haven't used it for years!" "The French don't care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly." What Rex Harrison was saying, in essence, is that we all speak (including himself and professor Higgins) with some accent to some degree; and we all need to improve our diction and syntax, if it's even a tuck here and there. And the nuance here, is that, in his opinion, the French, although they speak English with an accent, they try their utmost best to speak their English grammar properly. I've listened to some American speak, and I couldn't "understand a word" they were saying. And, believe me, although I, also, speak with an accent, I think I speak far better English (grammar) than most Americans---including presidents and paupers. I think that it all comes down to prejudice: some of the Americans think that they have a monopoly on the standard of speech, thereby believing that no matter how they speak (improperly) because they are citizens of one of the "leading" countries in the world people are obliged to understand them, but they are not under any obligation, whatsoever, to try to understand other people even if they speak perfect English, with an accent. "Why don 't you learn to speak properly!" one homeless American man said to a Jamaican, who had a masters degree, unbeknownst to him. The American continued: "I had went to one of the best universities in this country [America] not because you see me 'ere digging up the garbage." "Get away from the garbage, you punk!" the Jamaican Building Superintendent shouted. "You lucky," the American 'scholar' said, "i f I'd bron g my knife you woudda see som'in . "The last time you came 'ere and left the place strewn with garbage! I wouldn't mind if you clean up after yourself!" "Go back to your country!" the American said. "You was not 'ere when I'd did it !" " We was 'ere before you came, and we been doin' dis all the while; you ain't gonna stop me, you punk!" And, in writing: "I can see your not happy ...." One example out of a host of bad English constructions/compositions. I used to teach English, and I'm sure "your" should be "you're." And, talking about bad English and accent: Have you ever heard or seen some "well educated" speakers slaughter the English language on the airwaves and in the news media? And, talk about bad grammar in writing; I'm tired of seeing that!
Did you know that the average (Jamaican) West Indian high school graduate's education is tantamount to an American college graduate with a bachelors degree? Can you imagine asking a college graduate, "What is a gerund?" and he doesn't even have a clue? I did that, once. I guarantee that every high school student in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries knows that. And in case you don't know (which would not be a surprise) : a GERUND is a verbal noun: e.g.: "I like fishing." "fishing" is the gerund or verbal noun; because although "fishing" normally functions as a (verb) present participle, it now takes on the property of a noun: the name of the thing I like. "Swimming is exhausting, but good for your heart!" "Swimming" is functioning as both a noun and a verb, so, hence, it's a GERUND. The same guy didn't know what is a noun in apposition
; and another college graduate didn't know what is a nominative absolute
. SHOCKING! I asked an high school student, "Do you know what is a noun?" He had no clue! "What is a predicate?" "Do you know anything about parsing?" He was dumbfounded! Is this what you call an American education? How can you speak properly (even with an accent) if you do not know your own language? So, friends, please come to terms with the fact that although you might be citizens of the "leader of modern civilization" you are lagging in your mother tongue. And, one more thing: there is no need for xenophobia: that person you fear or view with despair may be willing to help you with your English grammar---forget about the accent! Like the Frenchman, my desire is to speak English properly, with an accent, rather than not speak it at all.