Representation: the production of meaning through language


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From a subjective standpoint, perhaps more difficult is the distinction between semiotics and the philosophy of language. In a sense, the difference lies between separate traditions rather than subjects. Different authors have called themselves "philosopher of language" or "semiotician". This difference does not match the separation between analytic and continental philosophy.

On a closer look, there may be found some differences regarding subjects. Philosophy of language pays more attention to natural languages or to languages in general, while semiotics is deeply concerned with non-linguistic signification. Philosophy of language also bears connections to linguistics, while semiotics might appear closer to some of the humanities including literary theory and to cultural anthropology.

Semiosis or semeiosis is the process that forms meaning from any organism's apprehension of the world through signs. Scholars who have talked about semiosis in their subtheories of semiotics include C.

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Peirce , John Deely , and Umberto Eco. Cognitive semiotics is combining methods and theories developed in the disciplines of cognitive methods and theories developed in semiotics and the humanities, with providing new information into human signification and its manifestation in cultural practices.

The research on cognitive semiotics brings together semiotics from linguistics, cognitive science, and related disciplines on a common meta-theoretical platform of concepts, methods, and shared data. Cognitive semiotics may also be seen as the study of meaning-making by employing and integrating methods and theories developed in the cognitive sciences. This involves conceptual and textual analysis as well as experimental investigations. It addresses somebody, that is, creates in the mind of that person an equivalent sign. That sign which it creates I call the interpretant of the first sign.

The sign stands for something, its object not in all respects, but in reference to a sort of idea. Syntactics is the Morris'ean branch of semiotics that deals with the formal properties of signs and symbols; the interrelation of the signs, without regard to meaning. Semantics deals with the relation of signs to their designata and the objects that they may or do denote; the relation between the signs and the objects to which they apply. Finally, pragmatics deals with the biotic aspects of semiosis, with all the psychological, biological, and sociological phenomena that occur in the functioning of signs; the relation between the sign system and its human or animal user.

Morris was accused by John Dewey of misreading Peirce. The flexibility of human semiotics is well demonstrated in dreams. Sigmund Freud [41] spelled out how meaning in dreams rests on a blend of images, affects, sounds, words, and kinesthetic sensations. In his chapter on "The Means of Representation" he showed how the most abstract sorts of meaning and logical relations can be represented by spatial relations. Two images in sequence may indicate "if this, then that" or "despite this, that". Freud thought the dream started with "dream thoughts" which were like logical, verbal sentences.

He believed that the dream thought was in the nature of a taboo wish that would awaken the dreamer. In order to safeguard sleep, the mindbrain converts and disguises the verbal dream thought into an imagistic form, through processes he called the "dream-work". In some countries, its role is limited to literary criticism and an appreciation of audio and visual media.


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This narrow focus may inhibit a more general study of the social and political forces shaping how different media are used and their dynamic status within modern culture. Issues of technological determinism in the choice of media and the design of communication strategies assume new importance in this age of mass media. Marketing is another application of semiotics. Epure, Eisenstat and Dinu said, "semiotics allows for the practical distinction of persuasion from manipulation in marketing communication" p.

Two ways that Epure, Eisenstat and Dinu state that semiotics are used are:. Semiotics analysis is used by scholars and professional researchers as a method to interpret meanings behind symbols and how the meanings are created. Below is an example of how semiotic analysis is utilized in a research paper published in an academic journal: Educational Research and Reviews. Pictorial semiotics [46] is intimately connected to art history and theory.

It goes beyond them both in at least one fundamental way, however. While art history has limited its visual analysis to a small number of pictures that qualify as "works of art", pictorial semiotics focuses on the properties of pictures in a general sense, and on how the artistic conventions of images can be interpreted through pictorial codes.


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Pictorial codes are the way in which viewers of pictorial representations seem automatically to decipher the artistic conventions of images by being unconsciously familiar with them. The break from traditional art history and theory—as well as from other major streams of semiotic analysis—leaves open a wide variety of possibilities for pictorial semiotics.

Some influences have been drawn from phenomenological analysis, cognitive psychology, structuralist, and cognitivist linguistics, and visual anthropology and sociology.

Representation (arts)

One of the many ways that pictorial semiotics has been changing has been through the use of emojis in email, text or other online conversations. Though not seen as works of art, these small images of happy, sad, winking faces or even a smiling poo image, have made their way into our everyday communication through digital devices. In the early advances of mobile technology and the increasing manner in which such devices are used, many in the linguistic community felt that vital communication cues, such as the importance of nonverbal cues, would be lost. However, others have said that the use of emojis in digital conversation has helped to give more clarity to a conversation.

As for oversimplifying our language, some have argued that perhaps our language is not being simplified, but that new generations are revitalizing the early forms of semiotics like cave paintings or hieroglyphics.

Representation: the production of meaning through language

As technology advances, so will the use of emojis or possibly a more advanced form of pictorial symbols to use in digital communication. Studies have shown that semiotics may be used to make or break a brand. Culture codes strongly influence whether a population likes or dislikes a brand's marketing, especially internationally. If the company is unaware of a culture's codes, it runs the risk of failing in its marketing. Globalization has caused the development of a global consumer culture where products have similar associations, whether positive or negative, across numerous markets. Mistranslations may lead to instances of " Engrish " or " Chinglish ", terms for unintentionally humorous cross-cultural slogans intended to be understood in English.

This may be caused by a sign that, in Peirce's terms, mistakenly indexes or symbolizes something in one culture, that it does not in another. Theorists who have studied humor such as Schopenhauer suggest that contradiction or incongruity creates absurdity and therefore, humor. Intentional humor also may fail cross-culturally because jokes are not on code for the receiving culture. A good example of branding according to cultural code is Disney 's international theme park business.

Disney fits well with Japan 's cultural code because the Japanese value "cuteness", politeness, and gift giving as part of their culture code; Tokyo Disneyland sells the most souvenirs of any Disney theme park. In contrast, Disneyland Paris failed when it launched as Euro Disney because the company did not research the codes underlying European culture.

Its storybook retelling of European folktales was taken as elitist and insulting, and the strict appearance standards that it had for employees resulted in discrimination lawsuits in France. Disney souvenirs were perceived as cheap trinkets. The park was a financial failure because its code violated the expectations of European culture in ways that were offensive. On the other hand, some researchers have suggested that it is possible to successfully pass a sign perceived as a cultural icon, such as the Coca-Cola or McDonald's logos , from one culture to another.

This may be accomplished if the sign is migrated from a more economically-developed to a less developed culture. Products also may be marketed using global trends or culture codes, for example, saving time in a busy world; but even these may be fine-tuned for specific cultures. Research also found that, as airline industry brandings grow and become more international, their logos become more symbolic and less iconic.

The iconicity and symbolism of a sign depends on the cultural convention and, are on that ground in relation with each other. If the cultural convention has greater influence on the sign, the signs get more symbolic value. Graffiti is used by gang members to mark their territory and to warn off rivals. Graffiti is a great example of semiotics and the use of symbols. Police task forces are now starting to use a programming system called GARI, they upload pictures of gang symbols that they find and it helps them to decipher the meaning of the symbols.

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A rival gang sprayed red Xs over the work as a sign of disrespect. In the book The Lost Boyz: A Dark Side of Graffiti by Justin Rollins [56] it talks about how Rollins started writing on trains at a very early age, because it helped him find himself, he was now a graffiti writer — a somebody.

People use symbols to express themselves by getting tattoos or wearing a symbol on their clothing. This helps them to feel like they belong to something or it helps them to express themselves. Gangs also use their clothing as a symbol, they do something unique for their group so that you aware of the gang you are encountering.

An example could be a certain pant leg rolled up or wearing a certain color of bandana. The book also talks about how Rollins joined a graffiti gang that was called the WK which stands for Who Kares but it also had a different meaning which was Wanted Kriminals. For example, in the United States, waving is a form of "hello" but in other cultures this could mean something offensive. Semiotics is anything that can stand for something else.

Symbols in gangs are used for different things. Not just to show which gang a person is associated with but to express what has happened in their gang and in their individual lives. Gangs were first created to strengthen a certain ethnic group. To show which territory is theirs they will mark the streets so that other gangs are aware.

Semiotics - Wikipedia

There are special ways to read gang signs and their tattoos: left to right, top to bottom. They may also make the tattoo or graffiti cluttered so that it is hard to read. Each gang has special hand signals or set of signs to identify themselves. There are some gangs who add a dot or something similar to their graffiti to stand as a phrase used in their specific gang.

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For example, the gang called "Bloods" use the color red in their clothing to symbolize they are a part of this specific gang. They also are known to use the number 5 and have tattoos and graffiti of a five-point crown. The hand sign that they use mostly is a "b" which stands for bloods. Some gangs use graffiti and tattoos more than others as well as using their clothing as a symbol of their gang. Gangs will also use codes to communicate on the streets. They will oftentimes use a number that will relate to a letter of the alphabet.

Depending on the gang, they may use more complex codes.

Street gangs are known for using graffiti in their neighborhoods to mark their territory. Gangs are also using their graffiti to challenge other gangs and to disrespect them. They make sure to do it in a place that is clear and will leave a direct hit on the other gang. Semiotics and gang graffiti merge on the undercarriage of bridges, the face of billboards, on abandoned buildings, storefronts, the sides of railroad cars, and even in inconspicuous places found along dirt roads in small rural areas.

The idea, is to communicate a message.

Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language
Representation: the production of meaning through language Representation: the production of meaning through language

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