[CCT210H5] - Final Exam Guide - Everything you need to know! (37 pages long)

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Published on 30 Mar 2017
School
Course
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CCT210H5
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Introduction- Structure of the Sign: de Saussure and
Peirce
What is "Semiotics"?
According to Ryder, Semiotics is: " a branch of communication theory that investigates
sign systems and the modes of representation that humans use to convey feelings,
thoughts, ideas, ad ideologies… Uerto Eo jokigly suggests that seiotis is a
discipline for studying everything which can be used in order to lie."
SIGN
Simply put, a "sign" is something that stands for something or someone else in some
capacity
Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts, or objects
Signs have no intrinsic meaning and become sign only when we invest them with meaning
Two Models
Ferdinand de Saussure
Charles Sanders Peirce
Saussure
Saussure uses a two part model:
He defined a sign as being composed of:
A "signifier" - the form which the sign takes; and
The "signified"- the concept it represents
The sign is the whole that results form the association of the signifier with the signified
Example
"open"
Signifier: the word "open"
Signified" the concept that the shop is "open" for business
Remember that you as the shopper/ the person reading the sign have invested it with
meaning
"Value of the sign"
Saussure refers to as the "value" of a sign depends on its relations with other signs within
the system
In other words, Saussure believes that a sign has no "absolute" value independent of this
context
Chess game analogy
What is signified then clearly depends on the relationship between the two parts of the
sign, the value of a sign is determined by the relationships between the sign and other
signs within the system as a whole
"Arbitrariness" of the sign
Saussure argues that there is no necessary, intrinsic, direct or inevitable relationship
between the signifier and the signified
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o Agreed to be convention
o E.g. TREE
o What about TREE vs. FREE
Peirce
Has a three part model:
The Representamen: the form which the sign takes (not necessarily material)= to
Saussure's signifier;
An Interpretant: not an interpreter but rather the sense made of sign= to Saussure's
signified;
An Object: to which the sign refers (not in Saussure's model)
Peirce Example:
A traffic light sign for "stop"
1. The red light facing traffic is the "representamen"
2. The Idea that a red light indicated that vehicles must stop is the "Interpretant"
3. The Vehicles actually stopping are the "object" (the object as represented in the
representamen).
Remember: the object does not have to be real or physical
Peirce's Signs
Symbol/Symbolic: a mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which
is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional - so that the relationship must be learnt:
e.g. Language, alphabetical letters, numbers, Morse code, traffic lights, national flags;
Icon/ Iconic: a mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified
(recognizably looking, sound, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) - being similar in possessing
some of its qualities; e.g. A portrait, imitative gestures ( putting your hand up showing "stop")
Index/ Indexical: a mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but it is directly connected in
some way to the signified - this link can be observed or inferred: e.g. smoke is an index to fire,
pain is an index to illness
Semiosis
The interaction between the representamen, the object and the interpretant is referred to
by Peirce as "semiosis"
Semiosis then is the comprehension and production of sign
Morris
Charles Morris adapted Peirce's work further within the process of semiosis:
1. The sign vehicle which orients a person toward a goal
2. The interpreter, or the subject of the semiotic activity
3. The object to which the sign refers
4. The Interpretant, which is the cognitive reaction elicited in the mind of interpreter
So Morris took Semiosis "to a form of behaviourism" and argued semiotics involves "goal-
seeking behaviour in which signs exercise control."
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