Essay about The Semiotic Theory Developed By Ferdinand De Saussure

Essay about The Semiotic Theory Developed By 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, history, and religion” (Seiler, 2003).
The semiotic theory developed by Saussure also includes the principles of signifier, signified, and sign. 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 do’s’.
Another aspect of S...


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...h a prominent and symbolic action, that it is almost universal across all cultures and individuals. This makes it the entire more obvious how the notion of text and social reality as text can be expanded into a much larger and greater sense.
Overall, Saussure left us with a theory that has “understood the mechanics underlying the formation of meaning in the wider context” (Potter, 2015) and has shown us that there are no limits to what text can be extended to. When underlying and interpreting texts, whether it be oral, written, or social reality, it is important to keep in mind how the signified and signified work in union to create such distinguished signs. More importantly, it is also key to recognize that these relationships between the signified and signifier are in fact arbitrary and that the meanings of all texts are purely a construction of social convention.

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