SOME BASICS ABOUT LANGUAGEAND LINGUISTICS• Language is a means of communication betweenhuman beings (and possibly animals (Sebeok 1972))and the study of languages is called Linguistics.The components of language: Verbal – relating to speech, sounds or phonetics Written – relating to the written representationof sounds and words• Linguistics studies the structures and relationships ofthese different components in order to understandthe construction and origins of languages.
“Semiotics is concerned witheverything that can be taken as asign. “Umberto Eco
• Semiotics is the study ofsigns and signification.
• Developed from studies of languageand logic Ferdinand de Saussure (Switzerland) Charles Sanders Pierce (America)
Sausurre• Explored signs in relation to language• Construction of signs and their meaning ratherthan the structures of specific languages Signifier – the physical element, the actual spokenor written word Signified – the mental concept, the idea of the sign Assigned by time, convention and practice Relational and depends on its difference fromother words
• Semiology langue – the system of signifier/signified,or linguistic signs parole – the practical application of thesystem within a specific language, or act ofspeech
Pierce• Explored the sign within the broadercontext of: Ontology – study of pure being and theessence of things Phenomenology – study of experiencingphenomena in the world
Three Elements to the Sign• Representamen – the sign itself (i.e. a word)• Object – to which the representamen refers to• Interpretant – the sense of the thing whichlinks the other two
Semiosis – theinteraction of thosethree components;the interptetant canbe a representamento another signleading to anothersign leading to apotentially infinitecycle.
• Identified different states or stages of theobject and interpretent Symbolic, iconic, and indexical – can beunderstood on a scale of arbitrariness orconventionality• Developed a typology of signs based on thedifferent modes of relationship betweenthe components of the triad
• Symbolic mode – arbitrary signs, no intrinsicrelationship between the elements of the sign• Indexical mode – signs in which there is a directconnection or genuine relationship between therepresentamen/signifier andinterpretant/signified• Iconic mode – signs which owe their connectionto the object through some resemblancebetween representamen/signifier andinterpretant/signified
“…a nude Venus with Cupid kissing her, and on one side Pleasureand Play with other Loves; and on the other, Fraud, Jealousy,and other passions of love. Venus and Cupid are identifiable bytheir attributes, as is the old man with wings and an hourglasswho must be Time (not mentioned by Vasari). The identity ofthe other figures, and the meaning of the picture remainuncertain.The howling figure on the left has been variously interpreted asJealousy, Despair and the effects of syphilis; the boy scatteringroses and stepping on a thorn as Jest, Folly and Pleasure; thehybrid creature with the face of a girl, as Pleasure and Fraud;and the figure in the top left corner as Fraud and Oblivion.”http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/bronzino-an-allegory-with-venus-and-cupid