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Semiotics

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  • 1. SEMIOTICS Introduction
  • 2. Definition of semiotics • It is the study of signs and symbols. • It looks how signs and symbols are used to communicate and develop interpretations. • Derived from the Greek word “semeiotikos” which means an observant of signs.
  • 3. Advantages of semiotics • Allows us to break down a message into its component parts and examine them separately and in relationship to one another. • Allows us to look for patterns across different forms of communication. • Helps us to understand how our cultural and social conventions relate to the communication we create and consume. • Helps us to get beyond the obvious which may not be obvious after all.
  • 4. Signs and symbols • Sign is a symbol which is understood to refer to something other than itself • Symbol is an object that represents, stands for or suggest an idea or visual images.
  • 5. Famous theorists • Ferdinand de Saussure. • Roland Barthes. • Stuart hall. • Charles pierce.
  • 6. Ferdinand De Saussure • He was a Swiss linguistic who created the term “semiotics”. • He distinguished between signifier and signified.
  • 7. Signifier and Signified • Sign is made up of: Signifier • The image or sound that gives a meaning e.g. blue colour Signified • The concept or meaning that the sign refers to e.g. blue colour is often associated with sadness or the sea.
  • 8. • Therefore for a sign to be considered a sign it must have a signifier and the signified. • Saussure argues that words are verbal signifiers that are personal to whoever is interpreting them . • A signifier can have many different representations which can turn into a different sign
  • 9. Signifier and signified in camera movement Signifier Signified Pan down Power/Authority Pan up Small/weak Dolly in Focus Fade in/out Start or end Cut Excitement Wide Conclusion
  • 10. Roland Barthes • He was a French literary theorist , critic and like Saussure was also interested in semiotics. • His semiotic theory focuses on how signs and photographs represent different cultures and ideologies in different ways.
  • 11. • These messages are established in two ways through: Denotation • The literal meaning of the sign. Connotation • The suggested meaning of the sign and the cultural conventions associated with the sign.
  • 12. Spectacles DENOTATIONS CONNOTATIONS • Sight • Optometry • Eyes • Long/short sighted • Lens • Glass • Intelligence • Scientist • Teacher • Physical weakness
  • 13. Myth • Refers to the collective , unconscious meaning created as the result of a semiotic process. • Barthes proposed that a myth is a chain of semiotic events which when experienced or seen by members of society creates a subconscious meaning.
  • 14. Example • When members of society come across the signs of McDonalds , KFC and Pizza hut the myth would be consumerism , capitalism and obesity which • Society members will not register on a conscious level whereas the literal meaning is that they are restaurants.
  • 15. Stuart hall • He is a cultural theorist and sociologist. • Hall’s encoding/decoding model is a part of the reception theory that looks at how audience interpret and respond to particular medium whether it be a newspaper or television show. • He said that the institutions encode a particular media message which creates a new form of communication and then the audience decodes this meaning using their own methods of logical interpretation.
  • 16. • For Hall the denotation an connotation process is an analytical tool. • He also argues that it is very rare for signs to signify their literal meaning in the world and most of the signs will combine both the denotative and connotative process and work simultaneously together to create meaning.
  • 17. • He also argued that for those decoding readings there can be a number of unlimited readings and that the decoding process is “polysemic” meaning that one text can have a number of meanings.
  • 18. Charles Pierce • He was born on 10 September 1839. • He followed a career in math , philosophy and was a logician.
  • 19. Pierce argument • Every thought is a sign and every act or reasoning of the interpretation of signs • Signs function as mediators between the external world of objects and the internal world or ideas. • Semiotics is the process of co-operation between signs, their objects and their interpretants.
  • 20. Forms of sign • He introduced Icon The signifier is perceived as resembling the signified. A pictorial representation , a photograph, an architect’s model of a building are all icons because they imitate or copy aspects of their subjects
  • 21. Index • An index has a factual or casual connection that points towards a subject. • Example • A nest image is an icon but also an index of a bird.
  • 22. Symbol • A symbol has an arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified. • The interpreter understands the symbol through previous knowledge and experience. • Spoken or written words are symbols. • For example flags.