CCT210H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Activision, Puzzle Video Game, Product Placement
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CCT210H5 Fall 2013
TERM TEST STUDY GUIDE
Part I: Short Definitions (4 x 5% = 20%)
You will identify four terms that you will choose from a list of five. Be sure to use
complete sentences and support your answer with examples wherever possible.
These are the terms you should study for the midterm:
Binary oppositions : A pair of related terms or concepts that are opposite in
meaning. It is the contrast between two terms that are completely theoretically
opposite, such as on and off, up and down, left and right.
Modality Judgment: To make sense of a text, we make modality judgment
based on our knowledge of the world and the medium. For Ex: Food codes,
social codes: verbal language, , textual codes
Polysemy/polysemic: The term given to words and signs to have multiple
related meanings. Eg. The word “get” can have many meanings, such as
‘procure’ (I’ll get the food), “become” (He got the job), “have” (I’ve got hiccups),
“understand” (I get it).
Projection: People project their own unconscious feelings onto other people or
objects, they see in other people aspects of themselves reflected back.
Mediagenic moments: How viewers are trained to see the world through
appealing visual news frames.
Syntext: A text that imparts the illusion of connectivity among what would
otherwise be perceived as fragmented random texts by simply
synthesizing them in an organized fashion.
Part II: Short Answer (3 x 10% = 30%)
You will answer three short questions that you will choose from a list of five. Be
sure to use complete sentences and support your answer with examples.
1. At around the same time Saussure was formulating his model of the
sign, Charles Sanders Peirce formulated his own model of the sign.
Discuss the two models, giving examples for each, and explaining both
their similarities and how they differ.
Saussure defined a sign as being composed of a ‘signifier’ and a ‘signified’.
The signifier is commonly the form that the sign takes, and the signified is the
concept to which it refers. Within the Saussurean model, the sign is the whole
that results from the association of the signifier with the signified. The
relationship between the signifier and the signified is referred to as
“signification”. For example, the word “Open” on a shop doorway is a sign that
•A signifier: the word ‘open’.
•A signified concept: that the shop is open for business.
Saussure focused on the linguistic sign and he ‘photocentrically’ privileged
the spoken word. He specifically refers to the signifier as a ‘sound pattern’.
He saw writing as a separate, secondary, dependent but comparable sign-
system. For Saussure, writing relates to speech as signifier to signified, or,
as Derrida puts it, For Saussure, writing is ‘a sign of a sign’.
Peirce created a triadic (three-part) model consisting of:
1. The representamen: the form which the sign takes (not necessarily
2. An interpretant: not an interpreter but rather the sense made of the
3. An object: something beyond the sign to which it refers (a referent).
To Peirce, to qualify as a sign, all three elements are essential. The sign is
a unity of what is represented (the object), how it is represented (the
representamen) and how it is interpreted (the interpretant). For example,
the three elements that make up a sign is like a label on a box that
contains an object. The representamen is the box and the label; this
prompts the realization that there is something inside the box (the object).
This realization, as well as the knowledge of what the box contains, is
provided by the interpretant. ‘Reading the label’ is actually just a metaphor
for the process of decoding the sign. The important point to highlight is
that the object represented by a sign is always hidden. The reason for this
is that if the object could be own directly, there would be no need for a
sign to represent it. We only know about the object from noticing the label
and the box, and then reading the label and forming a mental picture of
the object in our mind. Therefore the hidden object of a sign is only
brought to realization through the interaction of the representamen, the
object and the interpretant.
Between Saussure and Pierce, the representamen is similar to meaning to
Saussure’s signifier, while the interpretant is roughly analogous to the signified.
However, the interpretant has a quality unlike that of the signified. It itself is a
sign in the mind of the interpreter. For Peirce, the meaning of a sign is the sign it
can be translated into.
2. With reference to “Rhyme Pays,” discuss how semiotic concepts (signs,
myth, codes, etc.) are built into hip hop music videos to “market cool.”
In hip hop music videos, to “market cool” there are many semiotic
concepts built into doing this. Product placement have been there for years and
now clothing brands, drinks and jewellery companies place their products in hip
hop music videos as teen these days prefer to watch music videos over and over
again instead of advertisements. When a consumer watches his/her favourite
rapper owning Adidas, Hummer, Courvoisier, etc they tend to follow them and
buy these products. The myth behind this phenomenon relates to capitalism
because modern population are interested in showing off their wealth through
brand clothing, expensive cars, and luxurious accessories. These semiotic
concepts make consumers fantasize of living large and being cool. They help the
consumers to project a secondary star status and therefore companies takes
most advantage of these signs, myths and codes to promote “market cool”
through music videos.
4. Using two examples of types of codes (e.g. social, food, spatial,
language, looking), explain how and why codes are culturally variable.
Some codes are culturally specific while some are culturally variable. Food codes
regulates what kind of food is eaten when it is eaten, who is allowed to eat them, the
order in which dishes are presented and the reason why it is like this is because eating
events are of high importance to maintain social relations and harmony. Ex: In traditional
Chinese households, eldest eat first, followed by the next generation, down to the
In western society people wear black suits and dress during a funeral but in South East
Asian society people wear white traditional dress.
Part i: short definitions (4 x 5% = 20%) You will identify four terms that you will choose from a list of five. Be sure to use complete sentences and support your answer with examples wherever possible. These are the terms you should study for the midterm: Binary oppositions : a pair of related terms or concepts that are opposite in meaning. It is the contrast between two terms that are completely theoretically opposite, such as on and off, up and down, left and right. Modality judgment: to make sense of a text, we make modality judgment based on our knowledge of the world and the medium. For ex: food codes, social codes: verbal language, , textual codes. Polysemy/polysemic: the term given to words and signs to have multiple related meanings. The word get can have many meanings, such as. Procure" (i"ll get the food), become (he got the job), have (i"ve got hiccups),