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Signifier And Icon  - AS COMMS
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Signifier And Icon - AS COMMS


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  • 1. Semiotics Signs
  • 2. What signs are important? • Signs may be more important to one person over another, they are not fixed and we negotiate between text and reader • Textual analysis is about recognising codes as the organising system of communication
  • 3. Signifier/ Signified • A sign consists of signifier and signified • Signifier = physical form • Signified = mental concept • No fixed rules between the two • Together they form HORSE the sign CHEVAL
  • 4. Signifier • Is in some ways a substitute. Words, both oral and written, are signifiers. The brain then exchanges the signifier for a working definition. The word "tree", for example, is a signifier. You can't make a log cabin out of the word "tree." You could, however, make a log cabin out of what the brain substitutes for the word "tree" which would be some type of signified.
  • 5. Signified • What the signifier refers to - Connotative: Points to the signified but has a deeper meaning. An example provided by Roland Barthes is "Tree" = luxuriant green, shady, etc...
  • 6. No logical connection between signifier (denotation) and signified (connotation) A-D-V-E-N-T- U-R-E as a syntagm becomes the recognisable sign ADVENTURE but this may still have various connotations to different people
  • 7. Icon: • An image signifying an object it closely resembles or shares many traits with; and has the effect of making the audience think about the object. This works regardless of languages, eg: a photograph of a tree will make you think of a tree, without the need for words and therefore without misunderstanding in foreign countries.
  • 8. Index • A signifier which is not randomly selected; it is directly connected in some way to the signified object, and indicates it. The link can be obvious or inferred, eg:: smoke is an index of fire.
  • 9. Symbol • A signifier which has no obvious correlation between the signifier and the signified, which has to be learnt from society, eg: the alphabet.
  • 10. • Icon = a sign that shows what it is by looking like its signified (mental concept). • Index = signs that show their signified by association • Symbol = relationship between signifier (physical form) and signified as a matter of agreement • Signification is examining how signs mean before thinking about what they mean
  • 11. Myth • Ideology = hidden pattern of meaning, often created through Myth • Myth is third order of signification (denotation = 1, connotation = 2) • Myths are repeated until their pattern becomes normalised and often reinforce the dominant values of society
  • 12. Activity • Consider the levels of signification within which this image operates. What are the different levels and how do they work off/from each other? • 1 = literal meaning • 2 = cultural associations • 3 = Myth