Semiology In Ferdinand De Saussure

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Ferdinand de Saussure is one of history’s greatest contributors to both modern linguistics and structuralist semiology. Semiology can be understood as the analysis of sign systems. Prior to Saussure’s theory, “linguistics was principally diachronic and he was the one who inaugurated the synchronic study of language and the way meaning is structurally generated” (Potter, 2015). Additionally, semiology can also be interpreted as the attempt to study reality as a text. There is not a single part of our reality that cannot in some way, shape or form be considered part of a text. “We may not realize it, but in fact semiology can be applied to all sorts of human endeavors, including cinema, theatre, dance, architecture, painting, politics, medicine,…show more content…
According to Saussure, the signifier is the written mark in writing or sound unit whereas; the signified is our mental representation of the signifier. Together, these two create a sign. For instance, ‘wedding’ is the sign created by the union of signifier and signified. The signifier refers to the actually combinations of letters to create the word. However, the signifier is much more complex. The relationship between signified and signifier is completely arbitrary due to the fact that the significance of such a principle is that meaning is a matter of social convention (Potter, 2015). Thus, our mental representation of wedding could be affected by a surplus of factors. To some, the mental representation of ‘wedding’ may be the breaking of a glass at a Jewish wedding or to others it could be as simple as the saying of ‘I…show more content…
Saussure stresses the fact that all texts are governed by some set of rules. For instance, what is allowed in a poem is unlikely to be in a legal contract. We have rules put in place that we don’t even acknowledge or realize are there. “Many of the rules are explicit but perhaps the most important are deeper and that is, they are ‘known’ practically because they are used but not necessarily reflected upon” (Potter, 2015). These rules also govern the interpretation of texts. What this means is that that the way you say something is said like that because there is a ‘rule’ that states it should be, in order to be understood. The way we interpret things is dependent on such rules. Furthermore, the three forms of text according to Saussure are as follows: written text, oral text, and symbolic text. The written is merely the inscription of the oral. This is also where word order is crucial in order for language to have any sort of meaning. If it weren’t for word order, our sentences would have no value nor make any sense. Secondly, oral texts are another form, which include the actual speech units of sound and speaking out loud. These types of text though, have social rules contributed to them. For instance, there are social rules when telling stories to others, making jokes, making oral agreements, etc. These rules help tell us whether or not to interpret a
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