Signifying Reality: How Signs Construct the World
- Signification: making sense, making signs
-Linguistic and non-linguistic signs (language and words are a type of sign)
-The nature of signs:
-signifier and signified
-symbol, icon, index
-denotation and connotation
-How signs "construct" reality
-How we construct our self
Homo sapiens- "human that knows"
- Knowing: making sense
- To make sense = to signify
- Study of signs (signifying): semiotics
- Study of language: linguistics (study of the character of language)
Linguistics is part of semiotics.
Semiotics in the study of: 1) Language (linguistics)
2) Other signs (semiotics proper)
A Classic ("saussurean") View of Significations
Ferdinand de Saussure: - "signifier" (the physical material sign itself)
"signified" (the meaning of the sign/what the sign stands for)
Together in his theory the signifier + signfied = the sign
*on ordinary language the signifier itself is the sign but in semiotics both the signifier and the signified
make up the sign
Three Kinds of Signs 1) Symbol: Arbitrary; the sign has nothing to do with the subject (eg. barber pole sign really has nothing
to do with a barber shop or cutting hair), it is simply a conventional relationship. Symbols have
arbitrary relation to signified ("referent"). Connected only via the system of significations (Eg.
- arbitrary is opposite of "motivated"
- Motivated (symbols and icons not arbitrary)
2) Icon: (share some of their physical form like shape, sound, etc, with the referent; strong resemblance
between the sign and what it stands for)
3) Index: (eg. in the poison sign for WHMIS you don't actually see poision; the index indicates, it brings
about an illusion for what it represents. The referent is what it represents but does not look or
sound the same as the referent. Do not share any of their form with the r