Semiotics is about the interpretation of signs. There are verbal and non-verbal signs. A sign consists two parts: signifier and signified. The signifier is the physical part of the sign. It can be words, or anything like art, people, sound, objects. The signified is the meaning or concept represented.
A sign has denotative system, and connotative system. Denotative meaning is the original meaning, like in the yellow ribbon case. The connotative meaning is the elevated, evolved meaning. Some original meaning is dropped, and new ideological meaning is added.
Roland Barthes, author of semiotics, believed semiotics is used to re-enforce the status quo. The wealthy and powerful people, the media use semiotics to create a myth that things happen naturally. This is a way of manipulation.
The mass media use semiotics to communicate messages. A commercial or feature of Michael Jordan. MJ is the signifier, success is the signified. A little boy looks at MJ, and he wants to be Mike. Others look at MJ, and they want to be CEOs, musicians, inventors, statesmen, even the president.
1. Please read the chapter and learn the theory. Will you write down your understanding, comments, reflection on semiotics?
2. Can you identify some signs in daily life, like wedding rings, an olive branch, dove, white flag, a cross, or any others and interpret them using semiotics theory?
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