©2020 Built with love by Nick Howland.

ACT / Semiotics Intro

ACT / Semiotics Intro
January 31, 2013 nick howland

Semiotics, in essence, is the breaking down of signs and symbols into specified categories that ultimately relate to the sign’s relationship with the signifier and the signified. Everyday objects and their purposes are further observed and each individual piece is given meaning (each letterform can be part of a code which is then part of a paradigm). We are surrounded by signs that influence our simplest of decisions.

Below you will find the vocabulary from the reading as well as notes.

Words to define:

Semiotics- The generalized study and science of signs and symbols, both individually and grouped.

Sign-Something that stands for something completely different. Made up of Signifier and Signified.

Signifier- The word itself.

Signified- The object represented by the word.

Icon- This resembles the physical object it is representing.

Index- directly tied to the object it is representing or to a concept relating to the represented object.

Symbol- A symbol (or group of symbols) is learned and shared amongst a group of people.

Syntagm- A collection of signs arranged linearly.

Paradigm- A set of specified and grouped signs.

Code- The individual characters that make up a Paradigm.

Polysemy- The ability for words or phrases to have multiple meanings.



“Except for the immediate satisfaction of biological needs, man lives in a world not of things, but of symbols.”

Theory is speculation NOT practice.

Saussure and Pierce both studied the science behind signs at around the same tim. Concerned with what made up the sign.

Saussure’s studies were strictly related to linguistics.

Looked back on the origin of language to help understand how meaning is formed.

Language is constructed from a small set of units- phonemes (variously combined sounds that form words).

Relationship between signifier and signified are completely arbitrary.

Separation between meaning and form is called duality.

Peirce was interested in how people make sense of the world around us.

Triangular understanding of sign, user, external reality.

Sign does not have a simple definable meaning.

People have different emotional responses to signs.

Value of a term can be changed without meaning or sound being affected.