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Textual Analysis and Semiotics

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on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of Textual Analysis and Semiotics

Textual Analysis and Semiotics
Textual Analysis
Textual Analysis is known to be a method which communication researchers to describe and interpret the characteristics of a recorded or visual message known as a text.
• It is also a methodology or data gathering process
• When we perform textual analysis on a text, we make an educated guess.

What does T.A entail and it's importance
We make use of textual analysis all the time whether we are aware of it or not, it is important to us as it enables us to make sense of the world around us.
We do it when we listen to the lyrics of music or when we reading a text on WhatsApp/bbm/Facebook even when we look at What does TA pictures on Instagram.
Another purpose of textual analysis is to describe content, structure and functions of the message and meaning contained in the text.
It also makes us aware of the variety of ways in which it is important to interpret in reality.

Important factors to put into consideration in textual analysis would include:
• Selecting types of text to be studied
• Acquiring appropriate texts
• And determining which particular approach to employ in analysing them

T.A in Media: Points to Consider
Post-structuralism argues that an authors intended meaning is secondary to the meaning that the reader perceives and that a literary text (i.e. poetry or Shakespeare) or any situation where a subject perceives a sign has no single purpose or meaning.
In other words, when an author (can be a person or group) creates a text they do not determine once and for all how the text will be read.
This could be due to the differences in the audiences’ frame of references.
According to Post-Structuralisms the interpretation of meaning of a text is dependent of on a reader’s personal concept of self.
Furthermore, audiences should also be understood as active participants in the process of meaning making.
Post-Structuralism also believes that utilizing a variety of perspectives to create a multi-faced interpretation of a text is necessary, even though these interpretations tend to conflict each other.

Semiology is defined as the science of signs, or the study of signs and sign systems.it suggest that all communication is based on sign systems, which work through certain rules and structures.

What is a Text?
A text is something we can make meaning from. Consequently, whenever we produce an interpretation of something’s meaning we regard it as a text.

Texts can consists of:
• Films/Television programmes
• Graffiti
• Clothing
• Magazines
• Furniture, ornament
• Advertisements and so on…

We all know that there are no two exact synonyms in the English language and words always have slightly different meanings and connotations. Therefore we make use of the word text as it usually has particular implications.

science of signs
Semiotics Analysis (signs and signifier)
A sign is any signal that communicates something to us. Signs can be understood in two ways: 1. Sign represents something (the meaning, concept or idea to which it refers) 2. Every sign consist of a signifier and a signified.

Signifier: whatever material form used to convey meaning eg. Letters, images, sounds etc. Signified: the concept that the images, sounds or letters communicate


• Communicate through codes and conventions
• Communicate through systems of difference
• Communicate through denotations and connotations

Presentation by: Heather Loeto and Noxolo Mathebula
Connotation and Denotation
Connotation: Remind the viewer of certain feelings, beliefs, or ideas that are attached to the signifier (emotional matters are connected to it). An example of connotations include: colours, clothes, words, body language etc. connotation are something that the viewer or audience perceives in an image.

Denotation: To analyse an image purely on a descriptive level without investigating what it may imply. It attempts to describe an image without comment, evaluation or judgement.

Connotation and Denotation in practice
• Scientists and Philosophers focus on using denotations of words in order to communicate the exact meaning that they are trying to convey.
• However, Writers of literature such as Shakespeare focus mainly on the connotations of the word in order to evoke an emotion from the audience.
• They do this through the use of metaphors, irony and satires and metonymy.
• Words may have positive or negative connotations but that all depends upon your social and personal experiences.
• Words carry cultural and emotional association or meanings in addition to their literal meanings or denotations.
• Two words can have same definition while carrying different emotional content.
• One word may be seen as cruel or insulting while the other may seem neutral or positive. (Example)??

TA and Semiotics both significantly relate to one another because; they help us to contrast meaning and interpretation from images. It is also crucial to remember that the way one would textually analyze certain signs, symbols, texts or images is based on the frame of reference. This sis one of the many reasons why many people interpret or construct multiple and different meanings from one text. One should also remember that a text comes in various forms and that they are all around us.
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