SEMIOTICS(sometimes called Semiology)is the study of how meaning is constructed througha system of signs
Media studies terms show semiotics origins in the study of language‘reading an image’ ‘media text’
Semioticsrelates to the process ofCOMMUNICATION MESSAGE (person speaking) MEANING (person listening) MEDIUM speech Sheldon gets a lesson in semiotics
'both constructed and inherited by people using it within existing cultures, to produce meaning’(Branston and Stafford, 2003)
Semioticsused the term Signs to describe the way that meanings are socially produced
SIGNIFIERand theSIGNIFIED- a sign is produced when these two elements are brought together
the signs themselves, the way they are organised into systems and the context in which they appear
The word ‘CAT’ is an arbitrary collection of marks on a pagethe marks or sound of the word ‘CAT’ are the SIGNIFIER
The concept of a triggered in your mind upon hearing or seeing the word is what isSignified
This can also be applied to images: The physical image (i.e. coloured inks arranged on paper) is theSIGNIFIER
The idea of the objects that are conjured up in your mind when you look at the picture are what is SIGNIFIED
What are the signs here? What is signified? Why are the signs so obvious?
>>> What’s going on here?
DENOTATIONandCONNOTATION"Barthes pointed out that there was a significant roleto be played by the reader in the process of reading meaning"
"This first order of signification is straightforward.It refers to the physical reality of the object that is signified”.Crow, D. (2003)
DENOTATION is the obvious/literal meaning (this is a jar of pasta sauce). CONNOTATION is the suggested or implied meaning (This pasta sauce has been made using fresh vegetables).
DENOTATIONis what it looks or sounds likeCONNOTATIONis what it makes you think or feel.
“denotationand connotation are terms describing the relationship between the signifier and its signified, and an analytic distinction is made between two types of signifieds: a denotative signified and a connotative signified. Meaning includes both denotation and connotation”(Daniel Chandler)
Sign Signified Signifier denotation connotation
Connotation is arbitrary in that the meanings brought to the image are based on rules or conventions that the readerhas learnt.
We are used to the terms ‘Dress Code’, ‘Code of Behaviour’ and ‘Code Breaker’
The cat sat on the mat – makes sense because it follows the rules of two codes; English grammar and everyday logic. The mat sat on the cat – seems a little odd because it is grammatically correct but is not logical in the everyday sense. Cat mat on sat the the – doesn’t make any sense because it follows an unfamiliar code even though the words individually are recognisable
The viewer attempts to make new signs by searching for associations between the cows and the car manufacturers
Codes are CULTURAL (meaning is specific to the beliefs and behaviour of a particular social group). For example, the dress for a Christian funeral is black clothes, whereas at Hindu funerals white clothes are expected.
Metaphor and Metonym Where we substitute one word or image for another we can transfer the characteristics of that word or image into another
“A metonym works in a similar way except that it is used to represent a totality. Where we want to signify reality in some way, we are forced to choose one piece of that reality to represent it”