SEMIOTICS

By ROLAND BARTHES

We are a species driven by the desire to make meanings. Signs are meaning units, which can take the form of words, images, sounds, gestures, or objects.

Rolland Barthes book, named Mythologies - looks for the cultural meaning of nonverbal signs.

Semiotics is concerned with anything that can stand for something else. Look at the ideological or connotative meaning to explain the cultural status quo. Signs are physical forms that are invested with meaning. Signs sometimes refer to something other than itself, and it must be recognized as doing this by other users of the sign system’ (Turner, 1992).

The term semiology was coined by a Swiss linguist named Ferdinand de Saussure. Referred to a potential science to investigate the nature of signs, their impact on society and the laws that govern them.

Umberto Eco of Italy....A Theory of Semiotics.defined semiotics as the theory of the lie.

Barthes used the word "Myth" to describe his semiotic theory. Myth according to the new Webster dictionary: "in a looser sense, an invented story, something purely fabulous or having no existence in fact. The collective myth or doctrine of a people or a nation".

For the analytical purposes of semiotics and in the tradition of Saussure, every SIGN, is composed of a SIGNIFIER and the SIGNIFIED.

The SIGNIFIER is the form the sign takes. The ‘signifier’ is commonly interpreted as the material or the physical form of the sign. It is something that can be seen, heard, touched, smelt or tasted, (Chandler).

The SIGNIFIED is the concept it represents. The ‘signified’ is the mental construct, and not a material thing at all, (Chandler).

SIGNIFICATION is the relationship between the signifier and the signified, (Chandler).
 

Here is a linguistic example.

Sign: The written word ‘tree’.

Signifier: The letters T r e e.

Signified concept: The category of ‘tree’, (Chandler).
 

Saussure stressed that the signifier and the signified were as inseparable as the two sides of a piece of paper.

Taxonomy is a kind of structural analysis into the cultural meaning of designer clothes, French cooking, automobiles, Japanese gift giving, household furniture, and houses. No matter how chaotic or unjust...all as natural, inevitable and eternal to our collective societies.

1972 - TIE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLD OAK TREE

AVOID A POTENTIAL EMBARRASSMENT OF A FACE TO FACE CONFRONTATION

SONG OF FORGIVENESS OF A STIGMA

1991 YELLOW RIBBONS CARRIED A ‘WE WANT YOU BACK’ MESSAGE WHEN U.S. ARMED FORCES FOUGHT IN OPERATION DESERT STORM. BECAME A BLATANT SIGN OF NATIONALISM. WHAT HAD ORIGINALLY SIGNIFIED FORGIVENESS OF A STIGMA NOW SYMBOLIZED NATIONAL PRIDE.
 

THE TRANSFORMATION OF A NEUTRAL SIGN TO AN IDEOLOGICAL TOOL

SEMIOLOGISTS DECONSTRUCT THE MYTHIC SIGNS THAT REINFORCE THE DOMINANT VALUES OF A CULTURE. The problem with mythic signs is that they go without saying.

Mythic or CONNOTATIVE systems are second-order semiological systems built off of preexisting sign systems.

DENOTE is to mark out, to point out, and to stand for, to be the sign or symptom of something. It is to some degree impoverished of meaning.

CONNOTE: is to have meaning.

SYMBOLIC: A sign that does not resemble the signified but has an ‘arbitrary’ meaning. For example, the word ‘stop’, a red traffic light, a national flag, a number.

ICONIC: A sign that resembles the signified such as a portrait, a cinematic image, a diagram, or a scale model.

INDEXICAL: A sign which directly connected in some way existentially or causally) to the signified such as smoke, a weathercock, thermometer, clock, footprint, (Chandler).

Griffin, E.M. (1996). "A First Look at Communication Theory". 3rd Edition McGraw Hill
Film: Ad and Ego XMV61018-01
wysiwyg://138/http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dgc/semo2.html

http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dgc/semo2.html

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http://www.comm.vt.edu/comm.2034/semiotics/semiotics.html

http://www.argyroneta.com/s4b/semiotic.html

http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/staff/greg/analysis.html