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Semiotic analysis consists essentially of a handful of notions and analytical tools, which allow anyone to examine all kinds of signifying constructs, from words to bodily postures and smiles. This chapter goes through the main ideas that make up the discipline of semiotics, as autonomous from all other disciplines. It starts with examining the “meaning of meaning,” and given that semiotics is, in a fundamental sense, the science of “meaning,” this is critical point of departure. There are two main types of meaning that semioticians have identified as interactive in all kinds of representations—denotative (initial referential meaning) and connotative (historical accumulations of meaning). It then introduces and illustrates the three basic sign structures that govern all human signifying systems—icons, indexes, and symbols. Icons are signs that refer to something via resemblance; indexes are signs that refer to something in terms of their relative existence; and symbols are signs that refer to things by convention. The chapter ends by introducing the notions of structure and codes, both of which are central to contemporary semiotics analysis.
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- What Does It Mean?: How Humans Represent the World
- Palgrave Macmillan US
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