Monday, January 24, 2011

Notes from the reading (so I don't forget)

- Semiotics is defined as the theory of signs

- Signs can include music, marketing, food, film, drawings, paintings, poetry, dance, clothes, rituals, etc.

- “Stop means Stop, Apple means Apple, Crown meets Crown” OR “Stop means Danger, Apple means Healthy, Crown means King”

- Signs can mean something other than themselves

- Semiotics is about the tools processes and contexts for creating, understanding, and interpreting meaning is a variety of ways

- Signs are formed through the society that creates them

- Sender (who), intention (with what aim), message (says what), transmission (by which means), noise (with what interference), receiver (to whom), destination (with what result)

- Signs are often thought to be composed of two elements: the signifier and signified

- With any icon, there is a degree of resemblance between the signifier and signified

- For survival purposes, we need to be able to detect the link between the signifier and signified

- Some symbols need context in order to get the true meaning the signifier is trying to convey

- What you say might not be what you actually mean i.e. Sarcasm

- Non-literal messages: simile, metaphor, irony, lies, impossibility, etc.

- Clich├ęs

- A simile is a stated comparison between two different objects

- Similes are suggestive

- A metaphor is an implied comparison

- Objects, texts, and images can be used to create metaphors

- Simile: x is like y; Metaphor x is y

- Metaphors work by the process of transference

- Transference – while x doesn’t have certain properties literally, it can have them metaphorically

- Metaphors can also be persuasive


This Means That sums up semiotics or the theory of signs. From the article, we learn that signs can be anything from art to food and that signs can also mean other things then what they show, for example an apple meaning health. This Means That also goes into non-literal signs such as lies, sarcasm, and irony. The non-literal signs that are concentrated on are ones that present similes and metaphors. We also go in more depth of the definitions of similes and metaphors and what they mean to signs in terms of what it’s trying to signify. The article states explicitly that similes are comparisons between two physical objects while metaphors are implied comparisons. Throughout the article, one of the main lessons learned is that signs are what the society makes them, as what one meaning of a certain sign can mean to one society, a different society may interpret the sign differently. However, even with multiple meanings, without signs, humans would not be able to communicate.

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