Semiotics: The Science of Signs and Symbols Essay

Semiotics: The Science of Signs and Symbols Essay

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Twentieth century Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure designates semiotics as the systematic science of signs. Though the idea was both praised and ridiculed, the linguist successfully proved that signs do affect the way we view the world we live in. Where language was once the way we understood society, signs have taken their place. Consider the “M” for McDonald’s or the Castle for Disney, even the “Disney font.” We seldom recognize these companies by what we have heard about them and more for the symbols we see and associate them with. The study of signs proves as laborious yet rewarding.

Various amounts of research point to the fact that humans have an innate ability to picture something upon hearing a word. We often think of the sign without realizing that there is a signifier and that which is signified. Semiotics theory is a basis for understanding how that is so. This is not to be confused with semiology. Semiotics is the study of signs and codes, signs that are used in producing, conveying, and interpreting messages bad the codes that govern their use, according to Roman Jakobson writer of “Linguistics and Poetics.” Semiology is the study of signs and sign processes. Though a difference stems between semiotics and semiology, the two approaches to the theory or one theory of signification compliment and are related to each other. One cannot expect one to work without the other or there will be a missing link. In this paper, I plan to discuss how semiology and semiotics work in the process of human word-picture recognition, how that affects the media, and answering the question “How does something come to stand for something else?”
Explaining Semiotics
In Umberto Eco’s A Theory o...

... middle of paper ...

...w a picture of a Swastika to a crowd of people the majority of that crowd who immediately envision Nazi Germany. That picture would come to mind without first considering that the Swastika had meaning before Nazi Germany. There is a history behind then symbol that exceeds the twentieth century, that exceeds the late 1930s and early 1940s. Another example of a sign with multiple meanings across cultures and continents is the cross. Though the symbol of Christianity, there are people who do not respect of regard this symbol. It is meaningless to them.
There are many signs and symbols throughout history and in the world today that have multiple meanings throughout different cultures– whether accepted or rejected.

Works Cited

The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction by Jonathan D. Culler, 1981, Cornell University Press, New York, USA, Print, Book

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