Semiotics

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Semiotics

  1. 1. What do these mean to you?<br />
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  8. 8. Semiology: The Science of Signs<br />How do we understand the world?<br />
  9. 9. Homework for Thurs<br />Bring in a simple object that you think refers to something about yourself<br />Bring the object in a bag and list on a piece of paper in the bag what the object signifies<br />Keep both things secret!<br />
  10. 10. The desire to make meanings<br />‘We think only in signs' <br /> (Peirce)<br />
  11. 11. Are these signs?<br />A B C D E F G<br />H I J K L M N<br />P Q R S T U V<br />W X Y Z<br />
  12. 12. A sign is only a sign if someone interprets it as signifying something.<br />It refers or stands for something else.<br />
  13. 13. So is this a sign?<br />HORSE<br />
  14. 14. 'Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign’<br />Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning.<br />
  15. 15. The Two Dominant Models<br />Ferdinand de Saussure<br />Charles Sanders Peirce<br />
  16. 16. Saussure’s two part model<br />a 'signifier’ - the form which the sign takes<br />the 'signified’ - the concept it represents. <br />
  17. 17. Signification<br />The sign is the whole that results from the association of the signifier with the signified (Saussure 1983). <br />The relationship between the signifier and the signified is referred to as 'signification’<br />
  18. 18. Can you see a problem with this theory?<br />
  19. 19. What about the importance of the active process of interpretation? <br />Saussure’s Model<br />Content= meaning <br />Where does our interpretation happen?<br />
  20. 20. Peirce<br />This highlights the process of semiosis (which is very much a Peircean concept). The meaning of a sign is not contained within it, but arises in its interpretation.<br />
  21. 21. Time to play a game…<br />
  22. 22. Signified= Frenchness<br />Make a television show that conveys ‘Frenchness’<br />You can only convey using images and not words.<br />
  23. 23. What signifiers will you use?<br />
  24. 24. The gestalt<br />- Collection of images, each reinforcing one another<br />
  25. 25. What was the point of the game?<br />
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  27. 27. Symbol/symbolic<br />A mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional - so that the relationship must be learnt: e.g. language in general, numbers, morse code, traffic lights, national flags<br />
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  29. 29. Icon/iconic<br />A mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognisably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) - being similar in possessing some of its qualities.<br />
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  31. 31. Index/indexical<br />A mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified - this link can be observed or inferred: e.g. 'natural signs' (smoke, thunder, footprints), medical symptoms (pain, a rash, pulse-rate), measuring instruments (weathercock, thermometer, clock, spirit-level), 'signals' (a knock on a door, a phone ringing), pointers (a pointing 'index' finger, a directional signpost), recordings (a photograph, a film, video or television shot, an audio-recorded voice), personal 'trademarks' (handwriting, catchphrase) and indexical words ('that', 'this', 'here', 'there'). <br />
  32. 32. Iconic and indexical signs are more likely to be read as 'natural' than symbolic signs when making the connection between signifier and signified has become habitual. Iconic signifiers can be highly evocative. Kent Grayson observes: 'Because we can see the object in the sign, we are often left with a sense that the icon has brought us closer to the truth than if we had instead seen an index or a symbol' (Grayson 1998, 36). He adds that 'instead of drawing our attention to the gaps that always exist in representation, iconic experiences encourage us subconsciously to fill in these gaps and then to believe that there were no gaps in the first place... This is the paradox of representation: it may deceive most when we think it works best' (ibid., 41). <br />
  33. 33. From Signifier<br />To Signified<br />

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