Scriptwriting as a Tool for Learning Stylistic Variation



Abstract: A film script is a useful tool for allowing students to experiment with language variation. Scripts of love stories comprise a range of language contexts, each triggering a different style on a formal-neutral-informal linguistic continuum: (1) technical cinematographic language in camera directions; (2) narrative language in exposition of scenes, sets, and characters; and (3) quasi-spoken intimate language in dialogue between fictional lovers. The project presented in this article required students in a French writing and translation course to make short films à la Paris, je t'aime (Benbihy & Ossard, 2006) by collaborating on a sequence of tasks: writing a screenplay, shooting a short film, subtitling a peer group's film, and writing reviews. The sequence was designed as an introduction to stylistic variation through reflection and experimentation of pluristylistic (idiomatic) writing.