Language And Speech Teaching Based On Cinema Text


The article is devoted to the description and analysis of the language and speech teaching methods based on a cinema text. The purpose of the article is to show the way how on the basis of documentary films to introduce the contemporary young people to the Russian culture and traditions, to shape among them the respect for the native language. The relevance of the study is dictated by the need to increase the interest among the young generation in truly significant highly spiritual cultural points by means of the classical literature, journalism and cinematography. As the source material there was selected the documentary film “Citizen of the Globe”. The authors' interest of choosing this film is stirred up by the fact that the memorial film in the genre of portrait feature story is a moral and aesthetic masterpiece, endowed with a deep subtext, aimed at the addressee with the intention to shape a spiritual and moral personality, and to provide the aesthetic and spiritual influence on it. In this regard, the authors are inclined to believe that the use of cinema texts during lessons on speech development creates a specific space of intersection of art and cinema-discourses.

Keywords: Cinema discoursedocumentary filmjournalistic stylemovie textportrait feature storystylistic devices


The digital civilization leads to the fact that a modern person has a changed culture of a text perception. A text is a linearly expandable structure: we read, and our eyes move along a line. However, the emergence of the Internet and creolized texts leads to the development of clip (audio-visual) thinking, which is capable of simultaneously performing several tasks (reading, watching, listening, clicking, putting likes), but it is characterized by a lack of concentration and attention, as well as a superficial understanding of a text logic. Experts in the field of education (including psychological and linguistic specialists) note with anxiety that a modern Russian-speaking personality is characterized by reduced empathy (the ability to empathize emotionally), very impaired speech activity, poorly developed readiness to perceive and produce texts. But without the emotional-value attitude to the world, the culture preservation and development is not possible.

As known, empathy is built on the ability to imagine what another person feels, how he appreciates the world around. However, unfortunately, the modern adolescents are not able to see the situation “through the eyes of other people”, therefore they cannot accept a worldview belonging to someone else: they do not even admit the right to a different view on events and the world as itself. There is a contradiction: on the one hand, the younger generation is only learning empathy and sympathy, on the other hand, they want others to demonstrate a high level of empathy towards them. Consequently, in the modern educational world, the need to develop some emphatic qualities among learners as individuals is very high, which makes it justified to appeal to movie text at lessons on oral and written speech development.

Problem Statement

The concept of "cinema text" was first introduced and interpreted from semiotics point of view and Lotman was the first who proposed this concept as a scientific one. A similar (semiotic) view on a cinema text was later developed by such researchers as Tsivyan, Slyshkin, and Efremova. Summarizing the semiotic studies of a cinema text, it can be stated that the designated phenomenon is based on the intersection of two semiotic systems – linguistic and non-linguistic, where signs of different nature do their particular functions. Taking as the basis the results received by the scientists in this field, we believe that the frame, being the minimum unit of a cinema language, is comparable to a word as an item of speech; montage can be compared with a composition of a literary text. This gives the right to use a cinema text at lessons on the Russian literature to create a multidimensional image of a writer as a person and an artist, to understand deeper a literary text and idiostyle of a particular author, thereby contributing to the development of empathy because the images' visualization and musical accompaniment of a movie provide the direct access to human's emotions.

We believe that the integration of literature and cinema at literature lessons leads to the creation of a special environment in which art and cinema discourse intersect. A lesson is complicated by expanding the range of methods and forms of conducting classes with learners, who, perceiving, interpreting and analyzing the structure of a media text, are involved in creative activity. The heuristic potential of using a cinema text as the basis for speech development is also confirmed by the data of neurolinguistics and cognitology (studies by Chernigovskaya, who claims that not only playing but also listening to music changes human brains: the quantity and quality of grey matter increases, and the genes are activated, which affect the motor activity, memory, and learning) (Chernigovskaya, 2016).

Research Questions

In this context the expediency of considering a cinema text is justified by the fact that interpreting a linguistic form of the modern society, it acts as an auxiliary element that serves as a certain universal code of aesthetic and spiritual influence on its recipient, on shaping his/her emotional mood and the ability to effective communication. Given this fact, we attempt to clear up the following issues:

  • to determine the extent to which a cinema text is able to arouse the thoughts of its audience and arouse the need among a person to generate his/her own ideas, create an evaluation nomination and shape a special kind of attitude to characters, phenomena and events.

  • to reveal the ability of a cinema text to tune a recipient to the empathic attitude to some events which he/she has seen, as well as to more attentive attitude to some nuances of a phrase meanings, to understanding and expanding the boundaries of a subtext.

  • describe how speech exposure through a cinema text helps learners develop the ability to reveal the nuances of some phrases and expand the boundaries of a subtext (Nikolenko, 2019).

  • to establish how the information segment taken from a cinema text solves some methodological issues aimed at developing the speech skills and-cognitive activity and learners' speech production that is leading to cultural gaps reduction and finally to their elimination.

Purpose of the Study

This article introduces a sort of reflections accumulated by a practicing teacher who is analyzing his/her own pedagogical experience. Along with it, the research aims to describe the experience of using a cinema text as a supporting tool for generating own ideas (of a learner), as well as to show how on the basis of documentary films to introduce the modern youth to the Russian culture and traditions, to shape among them the respect for the native language, to contribute spiritual and moral development of a personality and increase the level of speech and cognitive activities and speech production as itself.

To achieve these goals, we used the program aimed at speech development “Reflection of the Russian Soul in the Linguistic Picture of the World”, implemented by one of the authors of this study since 2016 at Don State Technical University (Belozerova, 2019a). The program is designed for four years and includes a module aimed at introducing the documentary films with a biography and work of some prominent Russian people (Belozerova, 2019b).

Research Methods

The study was carried out in line with the general philosophical methodological concept: cognitive factors are put to the forefront, which assume that the initial setting in the development of learners' speech skills takes into account such characteristics as “language and cognition”, “language and culture”. This research setting allowed the following methods to be applied: the method of cultural orientation used at a lesson; the expansion of cognitive space in the analysis of some language tools that shape up a cinema text; the method of associations when working with the cognitive dictionaries; the method of subject-practical activity carried out in a class; the method of observing the facts of the language and their implementation in speech practice of learners; the method classifying the conditions to develop learners' speech and cognitive activity; the method of positive and negative experiments in determining the percentage rate relating to the level of speech skills development among the experimental groups.

To solve these issues, we will present (for a methodological review) a part of the lesson outline “Everyone chooses for oneself: a spiritual and moral path of a hero” (analysis of the documentary film “Citizen of the Globe” (Chekalina, 2009), dedicated to the life and work of Aitmatov).

The lesson logic includes the preview, review and post-review stages. In the article, to facilitate the perception of the idea, the lesson assignments have a continuous numbering.

At the preparatory (preview) stage , it is advisable to turn to some theoretical material and introduce learners to the features of memorial films in the genre of portraiture. So, the learners with their teacher recall the main functions of the journalistic style in linguistics and in the documentary genre of cinema. The learners necessarily capture the key features of the phenomena discussed: they note that an important feature of the portraiture is an appeal to the hero’s inner world; to his spiritual and moral values; to life goals that determined his outstanding fate.

Task 1. List the main features of the journalistic style in linguistics and in the documentary genre of cinema. What genres of documentaries about outstanding personalities do you know? What types of essays do you know?

Task 2. What do you think, about whom a portraiture, a documentary film in the genre of portraiture can be written or made? What qualities should this person have? What should he do? Prove your answer.

A distinctive feature of the journalistic style is imagery and emotionality; It is important for a teacher that the learners understand with what visual and expressive means a director/producer manages to reveal a hero’s inner world (Alexeyeva, 2016). We consider it appropriate to compare expressive means in the journalistic or literary texts and in the portrait cinematography.

Task 3. What are the main visual and expressive means of the journalistic and literary texts, give some examples. List the features of visual media in the memorial film, give some examples.

The cognitive dictionaries (Sychugova, 2019) greatly facilitate the work on removing some lexical difficulties. The particular attention is paid to the work on language items – a word / phrase / sentence, because this is the basis for generating the own idea. At the preview stage, one should study the vocabulary entries “detail”, “color”, “composition”, “image”, “portrait” and “foreshortening”.

Task 4. Find in Explanatory Dictionary of Art, one of the types of cognitive vocabulary (Sychugova, 2008), and write down some words and phrases that characterize the artistic image, artistic detail, portrait and foreshortening. Give some examples that help to reveal the image of the hero in the film.

Before moving on to the work with the documentary, directed by Olga Chekalina, we consider it appropriate to answer the following questions: What do you know about Ch.T. Aitmatov? What works of this author have you read? What movies have you watched? What do you think are the facts from the private and artistic life of Ch.T. Aitmatov were the reason for creating a portrait feature story? Imagine why the film is called "Citizen of the Globe"?

At the viewing stage of working with the documentary film, the learners should be reminded that the image of the protagonist in the portrait cinema is revealed through stories and memoirs of relatives and friends, colleagues and "pupils". The writer about whom the film was shot, the audience see only in the included archival frames or in the photographs, which serve as illustrations for the recollections of the storytellers.

Task 5. While watching the documentary, we find the confirmation that the film “Citizen of the Globe” is memorial and belongs to the genre of the portrait feature story. You are sure to write down the thoughts, associations, feelings that arise during watching.

In our opinion, the tasks that reveal the inner world of the hero through epigraphs to the parts of the documentary are the following:

Task 6. Read the statement by Ch.T. Aitmatov and underline the keywords. Find some means of visualization that make the statement more expressive. Why do you think the writer made a deliberate lexical repetition? Prove your answer.

“The Creator endowed us with the highest blessing in the world — the mind. And he gave free rein to understanding. As we use of the gift of Heaven, this will be the history of the history of people ”(Ch. Aitmatov). (All the quotes presented hereinafter are film transcripts made by the author of the educational program).

Task 7. As a statement by Ch.T. Aitmatova reflects the main idea of the following video fragment? Why do you think the author makes such a comparison?

«Human relations laws are out of math laws and in this sense the Earth is going around as a carousel of human bloody dramas" (Ch. Т. Aitmatov).

The learners' attention is drawn to the writer's reflections on the eternal issues of life and death, the existence of a human, his place in the world, which performs a double semantic load: in addition to an external meaningful plan to convey the author's submeaning (Nikolenko, 2018).

Task 8. Listen carefully to the wording of Ch.T. Aitmatov, expand these phrases to the reasoned saying: "... Have honed, perfected the human substance in a human being"; "If there was no understanding of death, there would be no understanding of the essence of life". Do you agree with the writer?

The functions of a behind-the-scenes commentary are analyzed, in which the author of the film presents various manifestations of the hero, based on some biographical data, footage of video or photos.

Task 9. Read the comment fragment. What answers and on what question do we find in the author's books?

"Life... How to understand and comprehend what is going on around? In his early childhood, little Chengiz (Aitmatov) learned life from different angles, in its various forms. What is Life? What are we surrounded with in the world? What mountains are? What stars are? What makes the Life go?

The answer for all these questions there were heroes of his books who he met in the real life and who stayed here in Shekere forever".

The peculiarity of the portrait feature story as the cinema genre is the fact that he (the author) reveals the personality of the hero not only through inner reflections and experiences, but also through relationships with people around him. It is important to draw the learners' attention to what spiritual and personal qualities Aitmatov possessed, how modest he was, how much respect he treated all who met on his life way.

Task 10. Analyze Gennady Bazarov's saying (read the transcript). Underline the keywords. Do you agree with the idea that Aitmatov "gave another understanding of a human?"

«When such outstanding people pass away, we feel how we are getting poorer. Chengiz Aitmatov was a very strong personality. He remained up to his last minute in the literature. He didn't fall into any euphoria of his glory. To him found the way those who he was needed, who saw in him something more than a writer. And he found the time, the time for talking, for joking and for discussing. In fact, he has established a different level of human identity with his creativity... He was a spiritual support, a spiritual niche".

Task 11. Watch the film and listen carefully the memories of Andron Kanchalovskyi. Agree with a well-known film producer who believes that there should be few people like Aitmatov, or find some arguments to object to him. Support your answer with some arguments from the documentary.

In order to get a better idea of Aitmatov, the authors of the film resort to archival footage, which captures the moments of the writer's social life.

Task 12. Watch the fragment of the documentary about the Issyk-Kul Forum held in 1986. What do you think why Aitmatov, the initiator of the international non-governmental meeting of intellectuals, invited some representatives of art and culture, not politicians to participate in this meeting?

Task 13. Listen carefully to the behind-the-scenes commentary. Answer the question what moral issues touched Aitmatov much? What issues does he invite us to think over?

The director Olga Chekalina complements the idea of the hero through titers, which list the merits and regalia of the writer and the public figure as Chengiz Aitmatov was. This method helps the audience to feel the scale of the personality of Ch.T. Aitmatov and to understand that the person who is known all over the world, has not changed his principles neither in life nor in creativity.

Task 14. Read the titers where all merits of Aitmatov are listed. What kind of award do you think is missing in this list?

At the final (post-review) stage, we offer to perform some conclusive tasks.

Task 15. Answer the following questions: What do you think, why the film is called "Citizen of the Globe"? Did your response match after analyzing the film with the answer you gave at the beginning of the lesson? What kind of person did the director and scene-writer see Ch. Aitmatov? What do you think, with what means did the authors of the film manage to reveal the scale of his (Aitmatov) personality? What new facts have you known about the life and art of the great writer?

The appeal to the memorial film in the genre of portrait feature story develops a holistic view of the creative and social activities of the outstanding writer Ch.T. Aitmatov.


The analysis on the program "Reflection of the Russian soul in the language picture of the world" aimed at developing oral and written speech showed that the ability to work with documentaries in the genre of portrait feature story among teenagers had the different level. The learners who have been studying the program for several years, easily know how to allocate the necessary information for writing creative work from the cinema text, quickly orient themselves in the proposed material, consistently and coherently reveal the basic idea, which is facilitated by speech skills developed during the experiment. The new comers, who have never worked with documentaries as sources of a language and literary information, had difficulty in choosing the necessary arguments for speaking, in the selection of language tools and they needed a teacher help. This is reflected in Table 1 .

Table 1 -
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As can be seen from Table 2 , as a result of qualitative analysis of the data obtained, it was found that the reasoning of the participants of the control group by the end of the first year is becoming more structured (there is a clear division into the introduction, the main part, conclusion), supported by the arguments (each thesis is confirmed by logically related evidence from life experience or literature), however, the writing skills are not sufficiently developed.

Table 2 -
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Table 2 shows that the results of the study experiment prove the effectiveness of the chosen approach to speech development when working on compositions based on a cinema text in different genres.


Thus, the study convinces us that being a non-standard form of learning activity, working with a cinema text contributes to the development of an abstract worldview among the learners. This actively develops their creative thinking, provides them with the opportunity to express themselves with the greatest fullness, to develop the ability to master polemical dialogue, to combine thoughts expressing the sequence of events and processes of reality, to come to the understanding their own individual position in the world. The cinema text proves its effectiveness in mastering the communicative skills that contribute not only to the development of speech skills, but also to the discovery of the creative potential and logical thinking of the learners, forcing them to pass the information of the basic text through the prism of I am-position and enriching with elements of personal evaluation, thereby realizing the cognitive, communicative and educational objectives of teaching.


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Belozerova, A. V., Nikolenko, O. V., & Sumina, N. V. (2021). Language And Speech Teaching Based On Cinema Text. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 127-135). European Publisher.