Structuralism Semiotic Definition Semiotic / semiology => The study of sign and sign-using behavior a domain of investigation that explores the nature and function of signs as well as the systems and processes underlying signification, expression, representation, and communication. Semiotic = semeion (Greek) Why? Humans are homo-significans (meaning-maker) We make meanings through our creation and interpretation of ‘sign’ Sign takes the form of words, images, sounds, flavors, acts or objects Anything can be a sign as long as someone interprets it as “signifying something” referring to or standing for something other than itself Charles Sander Pierce declares 'Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign' Characteristic of sign Arbitrariness Sign is arbitrary because there is no inherent, essential, 'transparent', self-evident or 'natural' connection between the signifier and the signified - between the sound or shape of a word and the concept to which it refers Differential Sign has differentiation because a sign stands for its own role, without interference from other signs. The word “do-g” resembles an animal called dog, because it is different from animal “c-a-t” Saussure’s Concept the arbitrariness of the sign as the first principle of semiology, specifically, the arbitrariness of the link between the signifier and the signified Saussure’s semiotics concept is distinction between two inseparable components of a sign: - the signifier (the form which sign takes) which in language is a set of speech sounds or marks, - the signified which is the concept it represents behind the sign Saussure’s Concept a sign must have both a signifier and a signified, we cannot have a totally meaningless signifier or a completely formless signified A sign is a recognizable combination of a signifier with a particular signified because sign is the result of association of the signifier and the signified Pierce’s Concept Known as “classification of sign” Pierce sees the relationship of sign with logic Divided into: a. Symbol (conventional) b. Icon (similarities) c. Index (relationship) Pierce’s Concept Symbol Symbolic is a mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional Icon Iconic is a mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognizably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) - being similar in possessing some of its qualities Index Indexical is a mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified Semiotic in Literary Studies Semiotics represents a range of studies in art, literature, anthropology and the mass media rather than an independent academic discipline Those involved in semiotics include linguists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, literary, aesthetic and media theorists, psychoanalysts and educationalists Semiotic in Literary Studies Semiotic literary criticism, also called literary semiotics, is the approach to literary criticism informed by the theory of signs or semiotics Literary semiotics can be seen as a branch of the general science of signs that studies a particular group of texts within verbal texts in general Barthes’ Order of Signification Divided into: Denotation, Connotation, and Myth He develops this module base on Saussurean concept of studying signs denotation and connotation are terms describing the relationship between the signifier and it’s signified, and an analytic distinction is made between two types of signified: a denotative signified and a connotative signified Meaning includes both denotation and connotation Denotation Denotation tends to be described as the definitional, “literal”, “obvious”, or “commonsense” meaning of a sign the denotative meaning is what the dictionary attempts to provide Denotation is meaning of a sign in first level signification Connotation Connotation is used to refer to the socio-cultural and 'personal' associations (ideological, emotional etc.) of the sign Connotation can be referred as meaning of a sign in second level signification, higher than denotation meaning Connotations are not purely 'personal' meanings - they are determined by the codes to which the interpreter has access Connotation Cultural codes provide a connotational framework since they are 'organized around key oppositions and equations', each term being 'aligned with a cluster of symbolic attitude Myth Myths were the dominant ideologies of our time Barthes argues that the orders of signification called denotation and connotation combine to produce ideology which has been described as a third order of signification Myths serve the ideological function of naturalization. Their function is to naturalize the cultural - in other words, to make dominant cultural and historical values, attitudes and beliefs seem entirely 'natural', 'normal', self-evident, timeless, obvious 'common-sense' - and thus objective and 'true' reflections of 'the way things are'