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To understand semiotics and how to
apply this to media texts
Write down the
purpose of as many
of these apps as
Each app has it’s own
A person could be
aware of what each
one does by the image
alone. Some images
directly match their
purpose, for example
the clock. However
others such as the
images you would
associate with a
• The study of signs.
• Also of anything which stands for 'something
What do you
If you said
what it is.
The swastika is
Official team jersey of the Native American Basketball Team  proudly
displaying a very large swastika.
Before the 1930s, members of the 45th Infantry Division of the United States
Army proudly wore on their left shoulders an ancient "good luck" symbol, the
swastika, in yellow on a square red background.
However most people will
probably associate the
symbol with this
We read images and pictures in an attempt to
decode them and make sense of what they
mean to us.
• Denotation – What we see when we look at
an image (what it is)
• Connotation – What we understand from this
image (what other meanings it has)
St Patricks Day
What are the denotations and connotations of
Now try it with the following images
Ok.... So what’s all this
signs jiggery pokery got to
do with media studies
I want you guys to
analyse the following
image and come up
with as many
connotations as you
• This poster promotes a new series of the TV show Glee on E4.
• The pupils are on stage, while the two teachers stand either side of
• The shows title is in lights in the back ground, although the last
letter appears broken and has smoke coming out of it.
• The Glee club members are all posing like they are performing.
• All characters look happy aside from Sue and Quinn. Sue is pulling
out a plug, Quinn has her hands on her hips.
• Mr Shue, Sue, Finn and Rachel are the prominent characters in the
• Each glee club character has a distinctive and different choice of
clothing. The clothes are different shades of blue.
• They are from different ethnic backgrounds and are different
shapes and sizes.
• Both Quinn and Sue have blonde hair and are in red sports attire.
• Mr Shue and Sue stand either side of the pupils indicating they are oppositional
• Mr Shue’s body language, leaning back with his hands in his pockets suggests he is
a laid back person.
• Sue is literally pulling out a plug. The wire connects to the letter E which is
smoking. This added to the look on her face indicates that she will be looking to
take out the Glee club.
• The layout of the letters along with the smoking E, indicates that the show will
have a chaotic nature. It is on stage, suggesting it is about performers.
• The bright lights and colours suggest it will be fun.
• Fin and Rachel are positioned in the centre of the stage. They are acting out a love
scene, which suggests that their romance will be one of the shows key aspects.
• The Glee clubs different images indicates that they are all individuals but the same
colour blue indicates that they are all in this together. The connotations of Blue
are the sea and the sky, it is peaceful and natural.
• Sue and Quinn are in uniform. They have conformed. The colour red can also
signify danger. Quinn has her hands on her hips signifying aggression. Blonde
hair can suggest Arian and therefore the Nazi party. They would want to eradicate
anything dissimilar to them.
• Finn also is wearing sports attire, however it is the same colour as that of the Glee
club. It suggests that he is breaking away from his life of conformity to join them.
• Miss Pillsbury’s body position, holding her hands by her heart suggests that she is
in love with Mr Shue. The distance from him and the fact that he is paying no
attention to her suggests it is unrequited.
How audiences read a text
Cultural theorist Stuart Hall developed a
theory (rather imaginatively called Hall’s
theory). According to this, audiences can have
different reactions to a media text, whether it
be a film, documentary, newspaper or even an
Preferred and Oppositional Readings
• Preferred Reading: How the creator wants
the audience to view the media text.
• Oppositional Reading: Where the intended
meaning of the text is totally opposed by the
1950’s Kenwood Advert
• A woman’s purpose is to
serve her husband. She is
smiling, so she is perfectly
happy to do this. She
knows her place . The man
is the breadwinner. He will
give her the product.
• This is a sexist view. A
woman’s place is not in the
kitchen. They are equal to
men. If she wants one of
these products she will go
out and get it for herself.
Her husband can use it to
cook for her as well.