Semiotics

Topics: Structuralism, Semiotics, Jacques Derrida Pages: 11 (3274 words) Published: June 22, 2013
Lecture1 :
 
Review:
Last week we talked about interpersonal communications. Gofman’s argument that people put on a front or a face. Comm is dramaturgical. Different circumstances call for different aspects of yourself to be brought into the public sphere. We all know that everybody is putting up a front and acting. It is in the acting that society comes together and is able to live together. Gofman is continuation of Katz two step flow, role of opinion leaders, and importance of people in comm.. We’ve so far look at Comm through: media, interpersonal relations, language (words, sentences etc).  

Today’s lecture is a two part lecture.
This is a complicated form of communication. It requires some patience. This lecture focuses on reading by Bach.
John Searle was a great philosophy of language.
 Searle says that we take for granted that human beings have hole in the front of our faces and out of this hole comes stuff, sounds. Those sounds affect the way in which we behave. The fact those sounds come out of our mouth and take the form of words, sentences, is a powerful way of organizing knowledge. To be able to organize world according to word is one of the great achievements of humans.  

These words can be understood in two ways:
 
1) Syntax – refers to the formal elements of language (form of a sentence). The rules of grammar. Searle says that we have a indefinite capacity to make up new sentences that you’ve never heard before and never hear again, yet you will understand it. Syntax is the carrier of meaning. 2) Semantics – refers to the meaning of the words. Language is part of the structure of culture. So the specific uttering of a sentence is a reminder that we understand syntax and semantics.  

The power of language has a system which organizes the world, and something that organizes experiences, has made it a ripe and rich area of study. Comm. Theories build upon theories that come from linguistics. Many of the important theories or concepts that we know of in 2012 come out of an appreciation of the power of language. Theories that once applied specifically to language come to be applied to other things.  

MAIN POINT: People start to see aspects of culture in terms of language.  
Saussure:
 
Arguably most important linguistic. Ferdinand Saussure wrote in early 20th century (modernity, capitalism, urbanization, etc). He says language is picked up in many fileds, anthro, psyc, but all those ways of understanding language don’t come together. We need an overall theory of language. He attempts to say that he wants to create a science of language. Made up the science of semiology = the science of signs.

 He says that language constitutes a system that what language is is “a system of signs that circulate in the world that we put into use” Those signs are made up of two basic components:
1) Signified – concept we have in our head for something that exists in the world 2) Signifier – this is the word that we give to it.
He says that ALL languages are made up of those two components.  
1) Language is Arbitrary - The key for S is that the link between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary. There is no natural reason that an image of a tree would be called a tree. The only reason we call it that is because those who speak English decided that that is what we will call it. Example stop sign is a red sign in octagonal shape.

The link between the signifier and the signified is taught by a culture.  
2) language is differential – the word tree is imply one of the range of words that we use. The decision to call a  tree a tree is the decision to not call it something else. Saussure says that the way we understand comm. Is a negative process. We know what things are because we know what they are not.  

What are the effects of Saussures thinking?
These ideas are mega.
 
1) Important because it represents and attempt to create a science of language. The way I talk or describe something has very little to...
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