Semiotics : Signs And Symbols

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Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. It explores how words and other signs make meaning. When it comes to the topic of semiotics, there are two main theories, founded by Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce. Both semiologists proposed their theories in the early 1900’s. Saussure was a Swiss Linguist born in 1857. He created the Dyadic model of semiotics. His theory shows that a sign is made up of a matched pair, the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the word, whereas the signified is the physical object. When put together, they create a sign. His theory was published by his students after his death, entitled ‘Cours de Linguistique Genereale’. Peirce created the triadic model of semilogical theory. He looked at the signs themselves, the way they were organised and the context in which they appear. His method involves categorising signs into 3 areas – Icon, Index and Symbol. Iconic signs speak about truth and reality. They physically represent the object for what it is. Examples of these are portraits, cartoons and photographs. Iconic words are also possible. For example, onomatopoeic words such as ‘boom’ or ‘bang’ can both be described as iconic language. An indexical sign is a direct link between the object and the sign itself. For example, footprints in sand – there is an indication that a form of physical reality has taken place. Symbolic signs have no connection between the sign and the meaning behind it. They thoroughly rely on the
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