Founding semioticians, Charles S. Peirce and Ferdinand Saussure developed hypothesis suggesting that meaning is consumed from symbols and signs that can be presented to us through many methods. It is clear from Peirce and Saussure’s models of signification that we do understand the signs that are presented to us and we use these signs to create a meaning and to communicate. This essay will focus on the fundamentals of Peirce and Saussure’s models and how the models created a correlation behind the indication that humans do read off signs. It will also endeavor to outline the importance behind Roland Barthes’ theory, where it can be argued that meaning is interpreted differently through culture, past experiences and previous knowledge to the individual who is receiving the message. This essay will conclude that knowledge of how a sign is conveyed is individual. Although we do read off signs that are presented before us, context is imperative as it can alter ones perception of the meaning of the message that is received.
Saussure was a Swiss linguist who focused specifically on languages in history rather than general linguistics. (Chandler, 2013) His studies in semiotics began in the early 1900’s where he focused on the nature of the signs as a part of behaviour (Leeds-Hurwitz, 2012, p. 6) and believed that “language is a system of signs that expresses ideas, and is therefore comparable to a system of writing.” (Innis, 1986 p. 231) Saussure’s studies in semiotics lead him to the belief that speech is only possible because it is based on the system of language. (Barthes, 1968) From this he proposed a system of Langue (language) and Parole (speech) identifying the “relationship between “language” and “speech” is similar to that between “code” and “message.”” (Huhtamo, 2003)
It was then Saussure defined the linguistic sign as a two-sided entity, he labeled one side of the model a ‘signifier’ and the other the ‘signified’. Where the signifier refers to the...
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