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MDSA02H3 (54)
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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Thorough Notes

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Department
Media Studies
Course
MDSA02H3
Professor
Ted Petit
Semester
Fall

Description
5. RhetoricalAnalysis Rhetorical critics analyze texts for the ways they encourage audiences to inhabit certain moods , believe certain ideas, or undertake certain actions Rhetoric: refers to the ancient art or oratory, or asAristotle defined it, an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion. Rely on symbols to influence what (and how) audiences think and feel If we were to updateAristotle's definition of rhetoric: the use of symbols by humans to influence and move other humans Theories of sign Asign: is something that invites someone to think of something other than itself, like the way an image of a person makes one think of that person, or the way the unique letter combination d/o/g makes one think of a four legged canine Since nearly everything has that potential, virtually anything can function as a sign When multiple people agree on what a sign refers to, we say that it has shared meaning Without shared meaning, no social structures or institutions could exist Ferdinand de Saussure Called his unique approach to linguistics semiology Semiology Ascience which studies the role of signs as part of social life Semiology would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them He argued that all linguistic signs were a combination of signifier and signified Sign signifier & signified Signifier: sound-image. Refers to the material form of a sign as perceived by the senses, such as the word dog as heard by a listener Signified: mental concept. The idea evoked by the signifier, in this case, the idea of dogness. Note that an actual dog is not part of the equation Traits: arbitrary, linear For Saussure, the linguistic sign has two defining traits (1) signs are arbitrary (2) signs are linear Arbitrary: meaning there is no natural correspondence, no necessary relationship, between signifier and signified. The idea of dogness can be conveyed by different signifiers: dog (english), perro (spanish), chien (French), cane (Italian). We could even invent our own word for dogness such as plink, and if we agreed that plink meant dogness, then we would have a new signifier The constant creation and addition of new words, like Truthiness, and the changing meaning of existing words highlight the arbitrariness of signs. Linearity: Since the signifier, being auditory, is unfolded solely in time, it's impossible to utter two distinct linguistic signs simultaneously. It means that signifiers operate in a temporal chain, which if reordered, changes the meaning of what is being said Parole vs. langue For Saussure, it's important to distinguish between langue, the linguistic system, and parole, individual speech acts or utterances (I.e actual manifestations of the sign system) Langue: the rules and conventions that organize the system Parole: specific uses or performances of language He believed Parole to be the proper goal of linguistics In understanding Parole, one could study Phonology, or the origins of language and changes in sound pronunciation over time Difference Signs signify by virtue of their difference (I.e distinctiveness) from other signs The word dog can signify because it sounds different than cat, horse, or mouse. On a basic level, it simply means that if we cannot distinguish one word from another, then we cannot communicate Ex: when someone is talking quietly. Though we can still hear sounds, we can no longer distinguish among the sounds On another level, it suggests that the specific relations of difference matter. Dog sounds different than red. But red is not meaningful because it is different from dog; it is meaningful because it differs from blue, green, yellow, etc. Our ability to notice different colours in the world depends upon distinguishing between them The differences don't have to be universal, just socially agreed upon. Ex: if you're playing chess but you lost a Bishop piece, the game could continue using a bottle cap so long as both players agreed the object is representing the bishop and therefore is limited to certain kinds of movement *So 3 Characteristics of Signs Arbitrary: they can be changed depending on cultural usage (ex: paris hilton saying that's hot) Linear: cannot speak two signifiers at the same time Difference: without specific relations of difference between words, there can be no meaning Charles Sanders Peirce his theory was semiotics Semiotics Defined as: the quasi-necessary, or formal, doctrine of signs. Pierce's Semiotics differs greatly from Saussure's semiology because it both repudiates the principle of arbitrariness and expands the category of signs to include all modes of human communication (not just language) Semiotics is based upon the triadic relation between sign, object, and interpretant A sign, or representamen, as Pierce called it, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity The equivalent sign it creates in a person's mind is known as the interpretant The something that the sign stands for is its object The representamen (sign) loosely corresponds to Saussure's idea of the signifier and the interpretant to his notion of the signified Ex: The picture of a dog functions as a sign that refers to an object, a real dog, and creates an interpretant, or mental interpretation of the dog Classification Pierce classified signs into three categories: icons, indices, and symbols (1) Iconic signs Operate according to the logic of similarity or likeness; icons are representamens that structurally resemble the objects they stand for Ex: diagrams, maps, photos, and other types of image. (2) Indexical signs are linked by cause or association to the objects they represent. Since smoke indicates fire, it functions as an indexical sign for fire We see smoke, we think fire Anything which focuses the attention is an index (3) Symbols are linked to their corresponding objects purely by social convention or agreement; symbolic signs are learned rather than intuited All words, sentences, books and other conventional signs are Symbols Roland Barthes Barthes's theory of signs: signifying system Signifying system draws heavily on the work of both Saussure and Peirce The signifying system grew out of Barthes's fascination with how cultural practi
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