MAC 143 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Semiotics, Connotation, Denotation

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26 Oct 2018
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Semiotics and the Analysis of Popular Culture Texts
I. Definition
A. Analyzing how we make sense of things
B. System of explaining why we do things
C. Science of studying signs
1. A sign is anything that gives us meaning
a) Example: clothes
(1) How do we interpret the meaning behind certain brands,
styles or articles of clothing
II. Key Terms of Semiotics
A. Denotation
1. A way of describing a sign that relies on the description in an objective
way
B. Connotation
1. culturally specific, historically specific
a) Example: jacket
(1) Knowing it is a jacket is denotative
(2) Knowing what type of jacket, and that it is hip and trendy is
connotative
b) Spectrum of denotative to connotative
2. American flag example
a) Denotation
(1) Square with stripes and stars in corner
(a) Star could be more connotative as knowing what a
star is could be cultural knowledge
b) Connotation
(1) Knowing it is the American flag
3. Roseanne example
a) The music changed at each scene change
b) Shabby v. refined house
(1) Class difference
c) “What about X connotes Y.”
C. Signify/signification
1. What do the signs mean/imply/signify
2. Analyze processes
3. Helps make familiar things less novel
D. Semiotics is about explaining why you feel a certain way about a certain sign
1. Not about a correct answer, but defend why you feel the way you do
E. Swap-Out Method
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