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Semiotics the Basics.docx

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CMNS 110
Gary Mc Carron

Semiotics: The Basics  Saussure offered a 2 part model of the sign o 1. signifier: form the sign takes o 2. signified: the concept to which it refers  Saussure thought signifier and signified were psychological  nowadays signifier considered the physical form of the sign  sign is the whole that results from the signifier and the signified  a sign must have a signifier and a signified  the signifier can mean different things though o open: “open for business”, “open the elevator”, “open this end”  Saussure thought signifier was a sound o considered written word in a different system than spoken o letter signifies a sound  Saussure believed signified was a concept not a thing o when you hear signifier it makes you think of the signified Two sides of a page  signifier and signified can be distinguished between each other, but cannot be separated The Relational System  signs only make sense in a formal, generalized abstract system  no sign makes sense on its own, only in relation to other signs  it is not so much the individual word that signifies but the whole system  the value of a sign depends on its relation to the system  the system is the starting point from where we can then form meaning from the individual words  what distinguishes a sign is what makes it different  signs defined by their negative opposition between other signs in the same system  characterized by whatever the others are not  2 signs are not different, but in opposition Arbitrariness  signs are arbitrary o no necessary, obvious link between signified and signifier o any signifier could represent any signified o Socrates, Plato, and Shakespeare all recognized the arbitrariness of language o language plays a key role in constructing reality o no two languages categorize r
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