Language and History through Silent Film in the Foreign Language Classroom

Silent cinema represents a useful tool for foreign language instruction precisely because of its lack of verbalized dialogue. Cinematic silence can be used to demonstrate the connections between visual and verbal meaning, provide unique material for a variety of writing projects and in-class exercises, and facilitate discussion about the function of language in genre and narrative. If properly contextualized within a comparative framework, silent films and other historical documents can also provide insight into linguistic, social, and cultural change; facilitate the ability to properly contextualize historical documents encountered outside of the foreign language classroom; and make accessible the cultural codes from other historical epochs. Download article as PDF