Essay On Semiotics

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Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols, especially their processes and systems, or the study of anything that can stand for something else. The goal of semiotics is interpreting verbal and nonverbal signs (Griffin, 2012). Semiotics focuses on the interpretation of signs and the perception or meaning derived by the receiver. Meaning is not a quality inherent in a given sign, but an aspect of how that sign differs from other signs (Jensen, 2010). The science of signs is Semiology which comes from the Greek root semeion meaning ‘doctrine of signs.’ The history dates back over two thousand years. Hippocrates (460-377 BC) showed an interest in signs and their relation to medical symbols. Plato and Aristotle dealt with signs in their philosophical writings. Modern studies are found in the humanities, social sciences, music, fine arts, architecture, fashion, anthropology, medicine, mass media and communication (Berger, 1995). The verbal side of the field is called Linguistics (Griffin, 2012). Some contemporary Semiotic theorists include Arthur Asa Berger and Daniel Chandler. They look at the symbols, denotation and connotation, codes and hidden messages, and signs that lie such as dyed hair, imitation foods, impostors and impersonators. Signs and symbols are inherent to the way we find meaning in the world (Berger, 2010). A sign is something that stands for something else. Signs come in many forms. They can be in the form of sounds, spoken or written words, gestures, figures, material objects and images. The rudimentary principle is that signs are made up of a signifier and a signified (Berger, 2010). There are both denotative and connotative meanings behind a sign. These meanings are learned and can vary between cultures or over a ... ... middle of paper ... ...ter, 1996). Art critics and historians look for hidden meanings in art. Are they meaningless details or do they have hidden significance? There is no real answer, the images don’t actually mean anything, the meaning is invented by the interpreter. This is the problem of understanding signs and symbols. Readers and viewers bring their own cultural and personal experience to draw conclusions and interpretations. Signs and symbols are used often in advertising to convey an advertiser’s message. An advertisement may contain text, photographs, symbols and color, music and sounds. The process of semiotics may not appear instantly. It may take time for the audience to recognize and associate a symbol to a message or product. The use of semiotics in advertising can bring music, words, images and symbols together to create a strong identification with a message or a brand.
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