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Semiotic Analysis

What is Semiotics?
Every message is made of signs; correspondingly, the
science of sign termed semiotic deals with those
general principles which underlie the structure of all
signs whatever, and with the character of their
utilization within messages, as well as with the
specifics of the various sign systems, and of the diverse
messages using those different kind of signs (Roman
Semiology and Semiosis
Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce
Semiotics C.S Pierce
A sign or representamen is something which stands to
somebody for something in some respect or capacity:
it is anything which determines something else (its
interpretant) to refer to an object to which itself refers
(its object).
A sign thus stands for something (its object); it stands
for something to somebody (its interpretant); and it
stands for something to somebody in some respect (its
The relationship between representamen, object,
interpretant and ground determines the precise nature
of the process of semiosis.
Icon, Index and Symbol
The relationship among the representamen, object and
ground which involve actual entities in the real world
results in three semiosis terms: icon, index and symbol
Icon: something which functions as a sign by means of
features of itself which resemble its object.
Index: something which functions as a sign by virtue of
some sort of factual or causal connection with its
Symbol: something which functions as a sign because
some rule of conventional or habitual association
between itself and its object
Semiotics Roland Barthes
Any semiotic analysis must postulate a
relationship between the two terms signifier
and signified which is not one of equality but
of equivalence, not the sequential ordering
whereby one term leads to another, but the
correlation which unites (associative total)
The Associative total of signifier and signified
constitutes simply the sign.
1. Signifier
2. Signified
3. Sign
Process of Signification
Primary Signification First Order - Denotational
Meaning - Language
Secondary (mytical) signification Second order
Conotational meaning - Metalanguage.
Myth operates by taking a previously established
sign (which is full of signification) and then
draining it until it becomes an empty signifier.
Barthes example: A black soldier is saluting
French national flag
Semiotics and the Study of Literature
Writing combines two kinds of sign: language
in an auditory mode and language in visual
As the auditory, sign commit to time as the
visual, sign commit to space.
Temporal signs tend to be symbolic while
spatial signs tend to be iconic

A semiotic analysis of all aesthetic functions
must in one sense see in them a paradoxical
institution of rule-breaking.
Art thus appears as a way of connecting
messages together, in order produce texts in
which the rule breaking roles of ambiguity and
self-reference are fostered and organized