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Semiotics for Beginners

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Semiotics for Beginners

  1. 1. Lesson objective : <ul><li>To develop your ability to use semiotics to analyse visual codes in media texts. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Semiotics <ul><li>The study of signs. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Semiotics </li></ul><ul><li>The theory of signs. From the Greek semeiotikos, which </li></ul><ul><li>means “an interpreter of signs.” Signing is vital to human </li></ul><ul><li>existence because it underlies all forms of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Within semiotics, anything that is used for human </li></ul><ul><li>communication is defined as a sign: gestures, facial </li></ul><ul><li>expressions, poetry, rituals, clothes, food, music, morse </li></ul><ul><li>code, marketing, commercials, film, etc. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Write down words/phrases/ideas associated with it Think about a heart.
  5. 6. Blood Pump Muscle Life Red Emotions Feeling Strength Body Love Centre Care Organ Courage Bravery Sincerity Determination
  6. 7. But what are we actually thinking about?
  7. 8. Sort your words/phrases out into literal associations (actually referring to the heart) and connotations (referring to the idea of the heart – what the heart represents) Denotation Connotation
  8. 9. Heart <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul>
  9. 10. Heart <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. muscle </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul>
  10. 11. Heart <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. muscle </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. love </li></ul>
  11. 12. Heart <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. muscle </li></ul><ul><li>Pump </li></ul><ul><li>Blood </li></ul><ul><li>Organ </li></ul><ul><li>Body </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. love </li></ul>
  12. 13. Heart <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. muscle </li></ul><ul><li>Pump </li></ul><ul><li>Blood </li></ul><ul><li>Organ </li></ul><ul><li>Body </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. love </li></ul><ul><li>Valentines </li></ul><ul><li>Feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Romance </li></ul><ul><li>Sweet </li></ul>
  13. 14. Spectacles/Glasses <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul>
  14. 15. Spectacles/Glasses <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>Sight/Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Optometry </li></ul><ul><li>Eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Long/short sighted </li></ul><ul><li>Lenses </li></ul><ul><li>Glass </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul>
  15. 16. Spectacles/Glasses <ul><li>Denotations </li></ul><ul><li>Sight/Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Optometry </li></ul><ul><li>Eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Long/short sighted </li></ul><ul><li>Lenses </li></ul><ul><li>Glass </li></ul><ul><li>Connotations </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Scientist </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Boffin’ </li></ul><ul><li>Physical weakness </li></ul>
  16. 19. Icon The signifier (denotation) is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (connotation). A pictoral representation, a photograph, an architect’s model of a building, or a star chart are all icons because they imitate or copy aspects of their subject.
  17. 20. Index An index had a factual or casual connection that points towards its object. Wet streets are a sign that it has rained recently. Smoke signifies fire. A nest image is an icon of a nest but also an index of a bird.
  18. 21. Symbol A symbol has an arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified. The interpreter understands the symbol through previous knowledge and experience—it must be learned and agreed upon. Spoken or written words are symbols. There is no reason that the word CAT should represent a cat instead of a tree. CAT
  19. 22. Metasymbol A symbol whose meaning transcends the tangible realm of simple one-to-one relationships. History, culture, and tradition all play a role in creating metasymbols, such as the dove with an olive branch as a symbol for peace. For certain audiences, religious and magical signs and symbols take on these properties.
  20. 23. Understanding visual codes in printed media texts Denotation (signifier) Connotation (signified)
  21. 24. List the similarities in the denotation of these posters (focus on the image ). Think about lighting , posing , costume , props etc.
  22. 25. Genre Tropes (or ‘Codes’) <ul><li>A common pattern, theme, or motif within the genre (e.g. a spaceship in science fiction films) </li></ul>
  23. 28. QUESTION How does this poster use visual codes (colour, lighting etc.) to communicate and appeal to its target audience?
  24. 29. 1. Identify the technique. e.g. The text uses lights surrounding Bond.
  25. 30. 2. What is the effect? e.g. The text uses lights surrounding Bond to make him look angelic; as if he on the side of good.
  26. 31. To get to the higher marks… <ul><li>this creates the impression that </li></ul><ul><li>this suggests </li></ul><ul><li>this implies </li></ul><ul><li>this symbolises </li></ul><ul><li>this connotes </li></ul>
  27. 32. 3. What is the effect on the audience? e.g. The text uses white lights surrounding Bond to symbolise angels’ wings, making him look heroic, and suggesting to the audience that he is on the side of good.
  28. 33. 4. What else could it symbolise? e.g. The text uses white lights surrounding Bond to symbolise angels’ wings, making him look heroic, and suggesting to the audience that he is on the side of good. It could also imply that he is godly or ‘other worldly’ in that he has powers above the average male.
  29. 34. 5. Consider an alternative viewpoint. e.g. The text uses white lights surrounding Bond to symbolise angels’ wings, making him look heroic, and suggesting to the audience that he is on the side of good. It could also imply that he is godly or ‘other worldly’ in that he has powers above the average male. However, the shadow could suggest a darker side.
  30. 35. QUESTION How does this poster use visual codes (colour, lighting etc.) to communicate and appeal to its target audience? T What is the technique? E What is the effect? A What is the effect on the audience? S What else could it symbolise? A Consider an alternative viewpoint.
  31. 36. T What is the technique? E What is the effect? A What is the effect on the audience? S What else could it symbolise? A Consider an alternative viewpoint.
  32. 39. What have you learned? <ul><li>Terminology/Vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Phrases for analysis </li></ul><ul><li>How to get a higher mark in your response </li></ul>

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