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Semiotic Analysis - Case Study Example

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The term semiotics (often also referred to as 'semiology') is derived from the Greek word semeion which means 'sign'. In its core definition, it can be understood as the 'study of sign'. Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), a Swiss linguist, gave the name to the subject when Saussure, was teaching the 'course in general linguistics' in Geneva university…
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Semiotic Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages He interpreted the sign to be a physical object with meaning, consisting of the 'signifier' and the 'signified'. The 'signifier' according to him, was the material vehicle for the sign and the 'signified' was the mental concept it represented which was a common factor between every member of the same culture, sharing the same language. (Fiske 1990:43)
While on the other hand, paradigmatic analysis deals with the examination of paradigms embedded in the text. Commutation tests are often used in paradigmatic analysis. Commutation test involve the analysis by substituting words of the same class or type to regulate the shifts in connotation. They help in analyzing an advertisement from different perspectives through signs. They take into consideration different aspects of the 'signifier' and 'signified'. To interpret the message of the advertisement in the context of different themes, genres or mediums, a paradigmatic approach should be used. (T. Vestergaard, and K. Schroder, 1985)
Connotative meanings are those that are not purposeful representations of the object, but, new usages that have been produced by the language group. Connotative meaning examines the associations, the feels and overtones of a concept, and rather does not see it explicitly. Taking a close look at the definition given Saussure (1857-1913), a sign consists of two parts:
Being a signifier entails, it will have a structure that a person can witness through his senses of touch, smell, sight and hearing, and
Being the signified implies, it will symbolize an idea or mental build of a thing instead of the object itself
Whereas on the other hand, according to Chandler, Daniel. (2001/2007), a denotation is the literal or surface meaning preset to a signifier.
Meanings that are connotative are developed by the masses and do not show the inherent qualities of the thing or concept in actuality signified as the meaning. The accumulation of such meanings introduces complexity into the system of coding. If a signifier has only one denotational meaning, the use of the sign will always be unambiguously decoded by the audience. But connotative meanings are those that are dependent on the context, i.e. the addressee must learn how to make both the meanings correspond; the meaning intended by the sender and the multiple probable meanings in memory.
While the syntagmatic analysis, analyzes the textual aspect which compares a shot particularly in photography with other preceding and succeeding shots. On the other hand, paradigmatic analysis compares shots, but not against other alternative kinds of shots, as far as photography is concerned (C. Bazalgette, 1991).
The theories of semiotics are thus regarded as a unifying matrix which underlie most of the so-called humanities, as well as many of the social and behavioral sciences. Thus it informs and impinges the important segments of the behavioral sciences, such as psychological studies, and the hard sciences, such as biology and physics ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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