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Linguistics Lecture 2

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James Stinson

Jan. 24, 2013 Signifying Reality: how signs construct the world  Significance: making sense, making signs  Linguistic and non-linguistic signs  Nature of signs o Signifier and signified o Symbol, icon, index o Denotation and connotation  How “signs” construct reality  How we construct ourselves H. sapiens – “human that knows”  Knowing: making sense  To make sense: to signify  Semiotics: study of signs (signifying)  Linguistics: study of language Semiotics: language (linguistics) & other signs (proper semiotic) Classic (“Saussurean”) view of signification  Ferdinand de Saussure  “signifier” and “signified” (meaning/context)  Signifier + signified = sign Signs: symbol, icon, index  Icons share some physical form (shape, sound, etc.) with referent  Index: don’t share form with referent o don’t sound and look “the same” as referent o indicate what they refer to Symbol: arbitrary  Symbols have arbitrary relations to signified (“referent”)  Connected through system of signification (eg. Language)  Arbitrary opposite of motivated  Motivated: icons and indexes Most words are arbitrary (symbols)  Eg. Cat (arbitrary, doesn’t look/sound like a cat, no logical reason behind choosing the word cat)  Some not pure symbols: moo, oink, splash, scratch o Onomatopoeia (icons) Denotation and Connotation Example – denotation: Stephen Harper, PM of Canada, holding a beer. Connotation: he’s a regular guy Construction and Constructs  Linguistics and other signs construct referents  Some referents are real and others (ie. Yeti) are not
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