MEDIA STUDIES: MEDIA CONTENT AND MEDIA AUDIENCES
SEMESTER 2, 2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA SEMIOTICS
MEDIA AND VISUAL LITERACY
MEDIA,LANGUAGE AND DISCOURSE
This portfolio focuses on media content and media audiences. We look at the different signs in media. Newspapers were analysed and commonalities and differences picked up. A closer look at the content of drama series were also looked at.
2 Communication and Media Semiotics
In Media, communication occurs by means of signs. This is because media is seen as a representation and an imitation of reality. Semiotics is made up of four principals namely, the sign, the sign system, codes and the meaning. We will take a closer look at the kinds of signs such as iconic, symbolic, arbitrary and indexical. (Fourie 2009:51) 2.2 Discussion of Theory
According to De Saussure, a sign is made up of three parts. These are the signifier, the referent and the signified. The Signifier is the physical quality – that which is tangible e.g. the word or picture. The signifiers purpose is to represent something else or refers to something else, the ‘something’ referred to is the ‘referent’, it is therefore the idea, concept or object being referred to. The 3rd part, known as the signified is the meaning attached to the signifier by the recipient of the message. The signifier is not constant as the meaning may vary from one person to another. From the relationship formed, there are different types of signs that can be seen. The first type is the Arbitrary sign. This is a linguistic sign, such as a word. And there is no resemblance between the signifier (what is seen) and what is being referred to (referent). The signifies however will be the same for all the people able to understand the linguistic sign. For example if the sign is P-E-N, individuals that are able to speak the language will deduce that it means ‘pen’ so the signified will be common. However for a person who reads only sotho it may not mean the same thing. The next types of signs are the Iconic signs. These are visual or pictoral images. Here the signifier refers to that which it signifies. For example a picture of a pen will be interpreted by everyone has a pen and not only people that are able to understand English.
Symbolic signs are symbols – literary and linguistic are the third type of signs. The meanings here however are derived from social adnd a culturally background. For example a picture of a dove could symbolise peace to many people. Indexical signs, the fourth type, are the natural signs for example smoke that would mean a fire or water that could mean a flood.(Fourie 2009 51-52) 2.3 Media Examples
(ADDENDUM A and ADDENDUM B)
The first example is an advertisement for make-up from a magazine. It originates from a TFG publication, a magazine aimed at beauty and fashion conscience women. The purpose of this is to find out how semiotics is used in advertising. In the picture you can see a bottle of mascara and crossing that is a open mascara stick. The word REVLON is written bold and horizontally on the right of the page. The word REVLON is written in white to stand out from the black/blue background and to identify the brand. The signifier is the picture of the bottle of mascara that is seen. The referent is the mascara and it is therefore an iconic sign. It is a good example of an iconic sign as this picture will be identified as ‘mascara’ by anyone who sees it irrespective of culture, language ect. There is also an arbitrary sign in the picture. The word Revlon is used to refer to its beauty product....
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