CCT210H5- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 34 pages long!)

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School
Course
UTM
CCT210H5
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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CCT210H5 - SIGNS, REFERENTS AND MEANINGS
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA
PROFESSOR LISA PEDAN
LECTURE NOTES
JONATHAN HO
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017
LECTURE 1: INTRODUCTION
Semiotics
A branch of communication theory that investigates sign systems and the modes of
representation that humans use to convey feelings, thoughts, ideas, and ideologies.
Umberto Eco jokingly suggests that semiotics is a form of communication used to lie.
Cogitation used to put messages together to rely on culture knowledge, beliefs and
ideologies; Build ideas into images.
Sign
Something that stands for something or someone else in some capacity
Take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects
Signs have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning
Saussure
A two part model developed by Saussure:
Defined a sign composed of
A Signifier - The form which the signs takes
The Signified - The concept it represents
The sign is the whole that results from the association of the signifier with the signified
Example: Podium
SIgnifier: A wooden stand
Signified: Wanting attention; One that has knowledge
Example: "Open" sign on shops
Signifier: the word "open"
Signified": The concept that the shop is "open"
You as a shopper reading the sign is invested in the meaning
'Value' of the Sign
Refers to value by its relations with other signs within the system
Saussure believes that a sign has no 'absolute' value independent of this context
Chess game analogy
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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
There is no necessary, intrinsic, direct or inevitable relationship between the signifier and
the signified
Example: TREE
The word TREE. There is nothing intrinsic with the word TREE. It is arbitrary. There is
no evitable relationship.
This is agreed by convention
ARBRE: Tree in french. It is arbitrary. Both do not look like a tree.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This does not suggest that all signifying systems are socially or historically
arbitrary
Example: Language or Red for traffic light
The sign is arbitrary a
priori
but ceases to be arbitrary a
posteriori

- after the sign has come
into historical existence it cannot be arbitrarily changed.
ie. You cannot say to a police well in CCT210, I learned the stop sign means go. Doesn't work that
way
Peirce (3 part model)
Representamen: The form which the sign takes (not necessarily material) = to Saussure's
signifier
Interpretant: not an interpreter but rather the sense made of the sign = to Saussure’s
signified
An Object: to which the sign refers (not in Saussure’s model).
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.*
A Fundamental Division of 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
eg: language, alphabetical letters, numbers, morse code, traffic lights, national flag.
ie. Why do we have a Maple Leaf on the Canadian flag; Why stars on the American flag.
Icon: A mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognizably
looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) - Being similar in possessing some of its
qualities: eg. a portrait, imitative gestures.
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