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Semiotic Analysis

Making Meaning
Language (texts) a system of signs
Meaning not obvious, must be elicited
Signs are arbitrary
alphabet of deaf-mutes
Relationships between signs &
components of signs is key
Signs
Sound-Image
signifier
Concept
signified
Relationship is arbitrary, unmotivated, unnatural
Symbols
Signifier



Signified


Schoolhouse


Education

Education

Signs & Symbols
Relationship between sign & symbol
NOT wholly arbitrary
Meanings of signs must be learned
Structured associations
Codes

Codes
Intelligible signifiers and signified
agree
Messages & Meaning
Everything sends a message
Clothing
Food
Gestures
Rituals
Texts of all kinds
Matching Meaning
Connotation
Figurative
Signified
Inferred
Suggests meaning
Realm of myth

Denotation
Literal
Signifier
Obvious
Describes
Realm of existence
Denotation
Literal
Signifier
Obvious
Describes
Realm of
existence
Connotation
Figurative
Signified
Inferred
Suggests meaning
Realm of myth
Denotation
Literal
Signifier
Obvious
Describes
Realm of
existence
Connotation
Figurative
Signified
Inferred
Suggests meaning
Realm of myth
Semiotics
How meaning is created & conveyed
Signs combinations of signified &
signifier
Relationships between signs key
Language is social institution
All is text

Intertextuality
Conscious or unconscious
Parody
Style
Genre
Quote
Homage

Intertextuality
Metaphor
Like or as
Metonomy
Implied
Association with known image
Uncle Sam
Cowboy hat
Red rose

Codes
Based in socialization
Can vary from transmitter to receiver of
texts
Cultural captial
Toolset for understanding codes
Some meanings easier to understand,
taken for granted

Codes
Audiences negotiate meaning
Intended meaning
Negotiated meaning
Oppositional meaning
OJ
LA Riots
Cathy Freeman
Intertextuality & codes
Appropriation
Homage
Signs/signified
Cultural capital
Social world
Codes
All-pervasive
Specific
Clear cut

Personality, social roles, institutions, ideology
Genre, formula
Rituals, expectations
Decoding Pulp Fiction
Looking for oppositions
Character
Time period/cohesion
Mood
Power
Sexuality

Decoding Pulp Fiction
What does the surveillance suggest?
Why do both characters use drugs?
What function does the car/booth
serve?
What is implied by hand-rolled
cigarettes?
What is the purpose of the dance?