To follow up from my CATS lecture on Semiotics I was given a task worksheet to do which would test my understanding on semiotics and also get me to do my own semiotics reading on a image. Here are the task objectives I will follow.
1. Definitions- Note down the definitions of key terms from today’s session in your logbook. For example: Semiotics, signifier, signified, denote, connote etc.
2. Key thinkers- Note down a short biography and key ideas associated with Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles Sanders Peirce, Roland Barthes.
3. Find one example of an ‘icon’, a ‘symbol’ and an ‘index’
4. Find an example of contemporary advertising and undertake a semiotic reading of your image.
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.
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).
- 2. Semiotics: The Critical Analysis of Media (lukescowen411.wordpress.com)
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- Signs and Meanings (joshblackmore16.wordpress.com)
- CATS – An Introduction to Semiotics (sanctuarygames.wordpress.com)
- CATS Logbook – Session 3 – Semiotics (sanctuarygames.wordpress.com)