In this session of CATS we was introduced to semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols, the official definition is “The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation”, basically how we read signs. Using semiotics there are multiple ways to read signs, for example: colour (red danger/passion, white peace/purity), body language (posture, slouched, straight, hunch), combination of colours, Text (use of font, size, colour, bold, italics, underline) and so on really.
The definitions for the keywords we learned in the session of semiotics:
- Semiology- The study of signs, signals, symbols, gestures and messages.
- Semiotics- The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.
- Signifier- a sign’s physical form (such as a sound, printed word, or image) as distinct from its meaning.
- Signified- the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, as distinct from the physical form in which it is expressed.
- Denote- be a sign of, indicate. simile.
- Connote- imply or suggest (an idea or feeling) in addition to the literal or primary meaning. metaphor.
- Arbitrary- based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
- Polysemy- the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings.
Semiotics give you a range of meanings to just a basic picture, you are basically deconstructing or decoding the works to find out through semiotics what the meanings or purpose of that particular part in an image could be.
We then briefly learnt about 3 people who were involved in the making of semiotics and the theories behind it,
Ferdinand de Saussure– In 1906 Saussure taught a course on General Linguistics at the University of Geneva. His teachings were so monumental his students published a document of them, using their lecture notes to guide them. He was interested in the state of language, moreover, ‘an understanding of the conditions for existence of any language’ and the nature of the linguistic sign. From this he argued the linguistic sign or ‘unit’ was a two-sided entity. This he called a dyad (picture on the left). And this is what they define.
Signifier- a sign’s physical form (such as a sound, printed word, or image) as distinct from its meaning.
Signified- the meaning or idea expressed by a sign, as distinct from the physical form in which it is expressed.
“[…] it has never been in my power to study anything,—mathematics, ethics, metaphysics, gravitation, thermodynamics, optics, chemistry, comparative anatomy, astronomy, psychology, phonetics, economics, the history of science, whist, men and women, wine, metrology, except as a study of semiotic” (SS 1977, 85–6).