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Semiotics
 

Semiotics

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Basic concepts of semiotics, sign in the Peircean and Saussurean views, reasons to study semiotics in the context of HCI (Human Computer Interaction)

Basic concepts of semiotics, sign in the Peircean and Saussurean views, reasons to study semiotics in the context of HCI (Human Computer Interaction)

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Semiotics Semiotics Presentation Transcript

  • Semiotics Edgar Kenji Tanaka
  • Agenda
    • What is semiotics?
    • What is a sign?
    • Types of signs
    • Why study semiotics?
    • Conclusions
  • What is semiotics?
    • Also called semiology
    • Comes from greek semeîon which means sign
    • Science which studies the role of signs as part of social life (Saussure)
    • Formal doctrine of signs (Peirce)
    • Investigates the nature of signs and the laws governing them
  • Studies in semiotics
    • Semiotics studies are in art, literature, anthropology, mass media, psychoanalysis, biology, education and computers 
    • Semiotics are studied by semioticians ( semioticistas in Portuguese)
  • What is a sign?
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEgxTKUP_WI (Semiotics: the study of signs)
  • What is a sign?
    • Saussure and Peirce were concerned with the definition of sign
    • Words, images, sounds, gestures, objects
  • Ferdinand de Saussure
    • November 26, 1857 – February 22, 1913
    • Swiss linguist
    • Father of the 20-century linguistics
  • Saussure´s sign definition the form which the sign takes signification the concept it represents
  • Saussure´s sign definition
    • “ the sign is the whole that results from the association of the signifier with the signified” (Saussure)
    • Signified and Signifier are both psychological (form rather than substance)
    • Saussure´s model of the sign refers only to a concept and not to a thing
  • Saussure
    • Example
    Concept of a tree Word ‘tree’, picture of a tree, pronunciation of ‘tree’
  • Saussure
    • Example
      • Signifier – word ‘open’
      • Signified – that the shop is open for business
  • Saussure
    • Same signifier can stand for different signifieds depending on the context
    • Saussure was focusing on the linguistic sign (such as a word)
    • The link between signified and signifier is arbitrary (nothing ‘treeish’ about word ‘tree’)
    • No specific signifier is ‘naturally’ more suited to a signified than another
    • Saussure was more concerned about linguistic signs and speech
  • Charles Sanders Peirce
    • September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914
    • American logician, philosopher, mathematician and scientist
    • Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • Contributions to philosophy, mathematics, logic and semiotics
  • Peirce´s sign definition
    • “ Something which stands to somebody for something in respect or capacity” (Peirce)
  • Peirce´s sign definition
    • Representamen – form which the sign takes (not necessarily material)
    • Object – to which the sign refers
    • Interpretant – idea, interpretation in mind
  • 3 classes of signs
    • Symbol – signifier does not resemble the signified (fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional)
    • Icon – signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified
    • Index – signifier is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified
  • Highlights
    • There are no pure icons – there is always na element of cultural convention involved
    • Iconic and Indexical signs are more likely to be read as ‘natural’ than symbolic signs. (HCI)  Abstract UI (youtube)
  • Why should we study semiotics?
    • “ ...writings of semioticians have a reputation for being dense with jargon”
    • Semiotics is important because it can help us not to take ‘reality’ for granted as something having a purely objective existence which is independent of human interpretation
    • Information or meaning is NOT contained in the world
    • We live in a world of signs and we have no way of understanding anything except through signs
    • Deconstructing and contesting the realities of signs can reveal whose realities are privileged and whose are supressed
  • Conclusions
    • Peirce´s sign model seems to be more complete than Saussure´s
    • Saussure was more concerned with linguistics
    • Peirce´s model seems to be more adequate in the HCI context
    • Semiotics can help understand signs in computers
    • Semiotics can help in anything involving communication such as computer interfaces
  • Next steps?
    • Search for material involving HCI and semiotics
    • ...
  • References
    • Chandler, Daniel, Semiotics for Beginners (chapters 1 and 2)