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ST_SP15_Ch. 1 Semiotics

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Nicole Cox

on 23 April 2017

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Transcript of ST_SP15_Ch. 1 Semiotics

Media is central to our daily lives!!!
“a linguistic sign unites not a thing and name, but a concept and a sound image” (p. 3)
Sound-image (sign) is divided into the and the .
We also understand meaning through Pierce's "Trichotomy of Signs"
Basic concern= how meaning is generated and conveyed, with particular reference to the mediated text.


* influence perceptions and understandings of identity and culture
* influence our behaviors and norms
- we think we are immune, but we are not!
* are ubiquitous

* Education
* To understand intent and meaning
* Media crit= both positive and negative evaluations
* Media practitioners can better understand influence
* Media literacy

But, signs and symbols are two different things...
Why is it important to study media?

"Creative people (directors, artists, musicians, writers, performers, and so on) must be analytic about what they do; they need to understand why their work succeeds when it does, and how to avoid repeating their mistakes" - Berger, p. xii
Methodology (a.k.a theory)=

A body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline

A particular set of procedures
The analysis of principles or procedures
Each method of analysis is merely ONE way to analyze media....there are a multitude of approaches
Charles Sanders Pierce
Ch. 1: Semiotic Analysis
= the study of signs
* Icon= when a sign is linked to its represented object by some shared quality

* Index= when a sign is linked to its object by an actual connection or real relation

*Symbol= when a sign represents its denoted object by virtue of an interpretive
habit or rule.....
Pierce's Trichotomy of Signs
Media texts= systems of signs
Signs and symbols make sense because of oppositional elements....
Signs have no inherent value...nothing has meaning in and of itself!
Signifiers can become outdated and their meanings change quickly....
Jean Baudrillard

Language vs. Speaking
Media Codes and
...many of us can't articulate the codes and conventions of mediated texts, but they still guide our interpretation(s) of them...
Semiotic analysis is what brings those codes to consciousness, and allows us to recognize and articulate them in a way that makes sense.
Synchronic, Diachronic,
Syntagmatic, and
Paradigmatic Analysis

Looks at the relationships that exist among elements in text...examines paired oppositions
Historical perspective... examines how narrative evolves over time.
Examines the texts' sequence of events that form some kind of narrative.
Two things to remember in Syntagmatic Analysis......
Looks for hidden patterns of opposition that are buried in the text and generate meaning,
In order for intertextuality to be successful....
Bakhtin's Theory of Dialogics
Dialogue vs. Utterance
In applying semiotics to mass media, we concern ourselves with aspects of the medium that function as signs,
rather than looking at media as that which simply carry signs.
In media, the meaning of a text comes from the signs and symbols used within it.
Producers of mediated texts tap into certain codes and encourage us to interpret meaning in a certain way....
Connotation vs. Denotation
Hyperreality Reality in overdrive
SEMIOLOGY = the term used for the science of signs.

SEMIOTICS = the term generally used to refer to how meaning is generated in “texts”.

TEXT is a reference for films, television programs, and other works of art.

The simulation of reality seems more "real" than reality itself.
Our understanding of signs is also influenced by
connotation and denotation
* Search for binary or polar oppositions

* Levi-Strauss suggests that, “syntagmatic analysis of a text reveals the text's
meaning and that a paradigmatic analysis reveals the text's
meaning" (p. 25).

Signs can be images or words, but they are often combined with sounds to direct your understanding of the sign.
Different forms of signs:

* Language (the most common)

* Signs and Advertising - Corporate identity

* Brands- a means of self expression and identity

* Material Culture – implies status, culture, lifestyles

Hyperreality encourages
...consumption takes on value in and of itself.
* Language enables us to communicate information....we can do this because we all learn the same
that allow us to use language effectively....

• Speaking is the
of communicating, but it is based on the rules that everyone learns....speaking is useless if we don’t follow the same rules...

Synchronic and Diachronic are TYPES of semiotic analysis, while Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic are the specific approaches you take to get there.
Codes vs. cultural codes
Different forms of signs (continued):

* Objects and Identity- use objects to convey information about ourselves to others

* Music and Sound Effects – used to generate responses and feelings in audiences

* Activities and Performance – Body language, gestures, facial expressions, use of voice

* Facial Expressions- used to inform others about how we are feeling or, in some cases, to lie.
Helpful Tip (?)

Trichotomy of Signs= How we understand symbols

Triad of Meaning= How meaning is created
* Looks at paired oppositions within texts
* Focuses on one moment in time
* Looks for latent (hidden) meaning

Certain types of analysis are ALWAYS paired with specific approaches.
* Examines how narrative evolves over time
* historical consideration
* Looks for manifest (obvious) meaning

Ferdinand de Saussure
Bakhtin's Theory of Dialogics
Centripetal vs. Centrifugal forces
Codes vs. Cultural Codes
Aberrant Decoding
Criticisms of Semiotic Analysis
Full transcript