Semiotics

Better Essays
ioticsSEMIOTICS
SEMIOTICS
2012
Andrew West
Media Studies 2012
11/12/2012
2012
Andrew West
Media Studies 2012
11/12/2012

Semiotics
Semiotics

Semiotics is the study of signs and how the meaning behind those signs is created. Signs can take on many forms from photos, to words, smells and even objects, but as American philosopher Charles Sanders once said ‘Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign’, which means that even though these objects exist, they are only considered a sign if we have installed in them some sort of meaning and we use semiotics to identify how that meaning is made. A sign is composed of two parts, a signifier, which is the form in which the sign takes and the signified, which is the idea or meaning that the sign represents. Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, the man who created the science of semiotics noted that a sign is the relationship between the signifier and the signified. What this means is that one cannot work without the other, a signifier is useless without knowledge or social convention and the signified cannot be identified without something physical like text in a book or a picture. Let’s take an example of the green light at a cross walk as a sign. From a very early age we are taught that following the rules of the road is important for our safety and it is ingrained in society that the fewer road deaths the better, so the little green man at a crosswalk is a sign that it is safe to cross the road, with the green man itself being the signifier and the social convention of the safe cross code and our knowledge that the light green man means it’s safe to cross being the signified. Since one cannot work without the other, if we remove the little green man from the cross walk and put it on a wall, it will complete loses the meaning it once had and the same can be said if you change the colour of the green man to red at the crosswalk because we as a society take red at a cross walk to mean don’t cross. Words are



Bibliography: Graeme, B, 1997. More than meets the eye: An introduction to media studies. 2nd edition London: The Hodder Headline group. Daniel Chandler, 2009. Semiotics for Beginners Available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem02.html Artist unknown, 2007. Advertising: Does it sell? Available at Artist unknown, 2012. The Drive to be Thin--Women in Advertising Available at Artist unknown, 2008. Cachaca Watch: Cabana Cachaca Available at Artist unknown, 2006. SUBLIMINAL ADVERTISING Available at

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