A sign system is representation through communication which in turn leads to a shared meaning or understanding. We hold mental representations that classify and organise the world (whether fact or fiction), people, objects and events into meaningful categories so that we can meaningfully comprehend the world. The media use sign systems through newspapers, magazines, television,internet, and the radio etc. The conceptual map of meaning and language are the basis of representation. The conceptual map of meaning, are concepts organised, arranged and classified into complex relations to one another. The conceptual map of meaning although allows you to distinguish your own individual interpretation of the world, at the same time as holding similar views to that of other people in your culture. As the meaning is produced and constructed and in turn learned by a particular group of people. Therefore sharing conventions and codes of their language and culture. Signs can only convey meaning if we possess codes which allow us to translate our concepts into language. These codes are the result of social conventions which lead to the shared maps of meaning. These shared meanings are learnt unconsciously as we become members of a culture.If we have a concept of something in our minds we can say we know the meaning of this concept. However we cannot express or communicate this meaning without the second system of representation, language. Language is the only way in which meanings can be effectively exchanged between people, as people within the same culture are able to interpret the sign of language in the same manner.
As the meanings become natural through the conditioning of culture. For example the word white in Australia represents a colour of purity, however in China it is the colour of death. Demonstrating that different cultures have not only have different meanings in their shared conceptual maps, but a different language to express it. As meanings change rapidly throughout cultures to really understand another culture you must live there and speak the language for some time. Cultural, social, political, and linguistic conventions are learned over time. The three theories of representation, reflective, intentional and constructionist approaches explain how representations through language work. The reflective approach is where language fun...
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...talianicity. If the media do not understand the cultural characteristics of a country they would not be aware of the shared cultural values of the community and could easily offend the country. For example the eating of beef in India is not practised, the colour white is a symbol of death in China, and the left hand in some countries is known as the toilet hand. This demonstrates the differences in culture that could be very embarrassing for companies.
The simplicity of colour or a name could be very offensive and have disastrous implications, which demonstrates the necessity for market research. However I believe that cultural values also need to be lived to be learned, for more accurate results. The media are a very powerful tool of communication. They are used as a tool to educate, inform and entertain people all over the world. However the common sign sytems in which they use to portray many groups are often sterotypical. I know that Australian men are not all like what is portrayed in the beer commercials, due to experience of the culture. However all I know ofd the other cultures around the world is what the media portray, therefore providing me with my cultural knowledge.
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