Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign process (semiosis). It includes the study of signs and sign processes, indication, designation, likeness, analogy, allegory, metonymy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. It is not to be confused with the Saussurean tradition called semiology, which is a subset of semiotics.
The semiotic tradition explores the study of signs and symbols as a significant part of communications. Different from linguistics, semiotics also studies non-linguistic sign systems.
Semiotics is frequently seen as having important anthropological and sociological dimensions; for example, the Italian semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco proposed that every cultural phenomenon may be studied as communication. Some semioticians focus on the logical dimensions of the science, however. They examine areas belonging also to the life sciences—such as how organisms make predictions about, and adapt to, their semiotic niche in the world (see semiosis). In general, semiotic theories take signs or sign systems as their object of study: the communication of information in living organisms is covered in biosemiotics (including zoosemiotics and phytosemiotics).
The term derives from the Greek σημειωτικός sēmeiōtikos, "observant of signs" (from σημεῖον sēmeion, "a sign, a mark") and it was first used in English prior to 1676 by Henry Stubbes (spelt semeiotics) in a very precise sense to denote the branch of medical science relating to the interpretation of signs. John Locke used the term sem(e)iotike in book four, chapter 21 of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Here he explains how science may be divided into three parts:
All that can fall within the compass of human understanding, being either, first, the nature of things, as they are in themselves, their relations, and their manner of operation: or, secondly, that which man himself ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of any end, especially happiness: or, thirdly, the ways and means whereby the knowledge of both the one and the other of these is attained and communicated; I think science may be divided properly into these three sorts.— Locke, 1823/1963, p. 174
Locke then elaborates on the nature of this third category, naming it Σημειωτική (Semeiotike) and explaining it as "the doctrine of signs" in the following terms:
Nor is there any thing to be relied upon in Physick, but an exact knowledge of medicinal physiology (founded on observation, not principles), semiotics, method of curing, and tried (not excogitated, not commanding) medicines.— Locke, 1823/1963, 4.21.4, p. 175
In the nineteenth century, Charles Sanders Peirce defined what he termed "semiotic" (which he sometimes spelled as "semeiotic") as the "quasi-necessary, or formal doctrine of signs", which abstracts "what must be the characters of all signs used by ... an intelligence capable of learning by experience", and which is philosophical logic pursued in terms of signs and sign processes. The Peirce scholar and editor Max H. Fisch claimed in 1978 that "semeiotic" was Peirce's own preferred rendering of Locke's σημιωτική.
Charles W. Morris followed Peirce in using the term "semiotic" and in extending the discipline beyond human communication to animal learning and use of signals.
It is... possible to conceive of a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life. It would form part of social psychology, and hence of general psychology. We shall call it semiology (from the Greek semeîon, 'sign'). It would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them. Since it does not yet exist, one cannot say for certain that it will exist. But it has a right to exist, a place ready for it in advance. Linguistics is only one branch of this general science. The laws which semiology will discover will be laws applicable in linguistics, and linguistics will thus be assigned to a clearly defined place in the field of human knowledge.— Cited in Chandler's "Semiotics for Beginners", Introduction.
While the Saussurean semiotic is dyadic (sign/syntax, signal/semantics), the Peircean semiotic is triadic (sign, object, interpretant), being conceived as philosophical logic studied in terms of signs that are not always linguistic or artificial. The Peircean semiotic addresses not only the external communication mechanism, as per Saussure, but the internal representation machine, investigating not just sign processes, or modes of inference, but the whole inquiry process in general. Peircean semiotics further subdivides each of the three triadic elements into three sub-types. For example, signs can be icons, indices, and symbols.
Yuri Lotman introduced Eastern Europe to semiotics and adopted Locke's coinage as the name to subtitle (Σημειωτική) his founding at the University of Tartu in Estonia in 1964 of the first semiotics journal, Sign Systems Studies.
Saussurean semiotics have been challenged with serious criticism, for example by Jacques Derrida's assertion that signifier and signified are not fixed, coining the expression différance, relating to the endless deferral of meaning, and to the absence of a 'transcendent signified'. For Derrida, 'il n'y a pas de hors-texte' ("there is nothing outside the text"). He was in obvious opposition to materialists and marxists who argued that a sign has to point towards a real meaning, and cannot be controlled by the referent's closed-loop references.
The importance of signs and signification has been recognized throughout much of the history of philosophy, and in psychology as well. Plato and Aristotle both explored the relationship between signs and the world, and Augustine of Hippo considered the nature of the sign within a conventional system. These theories have had a lasting effect in Western philosophy, especially through scholastic philosophy. (More recently, Umberto Eco, in his Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language, has argued that semiotic theories are implicit in the work of most, perhaps all, major thinkers.)
The general study of signs that began in Latin with Augustine culminated in Latin with the 1632 Tractatus de Signis of John Poinsot, and then began anew in late modernity with the attempt in 1867 by Charles Sanders Peirce to draw up a "new list of categories". Peirce aimed to base his new list directly upon experience precisely as constituted by action of signs, in contrast with the list of Aristotle's categories which aimed to articulate within experience the dimension of being that is independent of experience and knowable as such, through human understanding.
The estimative powers of animals interpret the environment as sensed to form a "meaningful world" of objects, but the objects of this world (or "Umwelt", in Jakob von Uexküll's term,) consist exclusively of objects related to the animal as desirable (+), undesirable (–), or "safe to ignore" (0).
In contrast to this, human understanding adds to the animal "Umwelt" a relation of self-identity within objects which transforms objects experienced into things as well as +, –, 0 objects. Thus, the generically animal objective world as "Umwelt", becomes a species-specifically human objective world or "Lebenswelt" (life-world), wherein linguistic communication, rooted in the biologically underdetermined "Innenwelt" (inner-world) of humans, makes possible the further dimension of cultural organization within the otherwise merely social organization of non-human animals whose powers of observation may deal only with directly sensible instances of objectivity. This further point, that human culture depends upon language understood first of all not as communication, but as the biologically underdetermined aspect or feature of the human animal's "Innenwelt", was originally clearly identified by Thomas A. Sebeok. Sebeok also played the central role in bringing Peirce's work to the center of the semiotic stage in the twentieth century, first with his expansion of the human use of signs ("anthroposemiosis") to include also the generically animal sign-usage ("zoösemiosis"), then with his further expansion of semiosis (based initially on the work of Martin Krampen, but taking advantage of Peirce's point that an interpretant, as the third item within a sign relation, "need not be mental") to include the vegetative world ("phytosemiosis").
Peirce's distinguished between the interpretant and the interpreter. The interpretant is the internal, mental representation that mediates between the object and its sign. The interpreter is the human who is creating the interpretant. Peirce's "interpretant" notion opened the way to understanding an action of signs beyond the realm of animal life (study of "phytosemiosis" + "zoösemiosis" + "anthroposemiosis" = biosemiotics), which was his first advance beyond Latin Age semiotics. Other early theorists in the field of semiotics include Charles W. Morris. Max Black argued that the work of Bertrand Russell was seminal in the field.
Semioticians classify signs or sign systems in relation to the way they are transmitted (see modality). This process of carrying meaning depends on the use of codes that may be the individual sounds or letters that humans use to form words, the body movements they make to show attitude or emotion, or even something as general as the clothes they wear. To coin a word to refer to a thing (see lexical words), the community must agree on a simple meaning (a denotative meaning) within their language, but that word can transmit that meaning only within the language's grammatical structures and codes (see syntax and semantics). Codes also represent the values of the culture, and are able to add new shades of connotation to every aspect of life.
To explain the relationship between semiotics and communication studies, communication is defined as the process of transferring data and-or meaning from a source to a receiver. Hence, communication theorists construct models based on codes, media, and contexts to explain the biology, psychology, and mechanics involved. Both disciplines recognize that the technical process cannot be separated from the fact that the receiver must decode the data, i.e., be able to distinguish the data as salient, and make meaning out of it. This implies that there is a necessary overlap between semiotics and communication. Indeed, many of the concepts are shared, although in each field the emphasis is different. In Messages and Meanings: An Introduction to Semiotics, Marcel Danesi (1994) suggested that semioticians' priorities were to study signification first, and communication second. A more extreme view is offered by Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1987; trans. 1990: 16), who, as a musicologist, considered the theoretical study of communication irrelevant to his application of semiotics.
Semiotics differs from linguistics in that it generalizes the definition of a sign to encompass signs in any medium or sensory modality. Thus it broadens the range of sign systems and sign relations, and extends the definition of language in what amounts to its widest analogical or metaphorical sense. Peirce's definition of the term "semiotic" as the study of necessary features of signs also has the effect of distinguishing the discipline from linguistics as the study of contingent features that the world's languages happen to have acquired in the course of their evolutions. 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. S. 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. Cognitive semiotics initially was developed at the Center for Semiotics at Aarhus University (Denmark), with an important connection with the Center of Functionally Integrated Neuroscience (CFIN) at Aarhus Hospital. Amongst the prominent cognitive semioticians are Per Aage Brandt, Svend Østergaard, Peer Bundgård, Frederik Stjernfelt, Mikkel Wallentin, Kristian Tylén, Riccardo Fusaroli, and Jordan Zlatev. Zlatev later in co-operation with Göran Sonesson established CCS (Center for Cognitive Semiotics) at Lund University, Sweden.
"A sign, or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. 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." Peirce called the sign a representamen, in order to bring out the fact that a sign is something that "represents" something else in order to suggest it (that is, "re-present" it) in some way. For a summary of Peirce's contributions to semiotics, see Liszka (1996) or Atkin (2006).
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. Unlike his mentor George Herbert Mead, Morris was a behaviorist and sympathetic to the Vienna Circle positivism of his colleague, Rudolf Carnap. Morris was accused by John Dewey of misreading Peirce.
The flexibility of human semiotics is well demonstrated in dreams. Sigmund Freud 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".
Applications of semiotics include:
In some countries, its role is limited to literary criticism and an appreciation of audio and visual media. 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.
Publication of research is both in dedicated journals such as Sign Systems Studies, established by Yuri Lotman and published by Tartu University Press; Semiotica, founded by Thomas A. Sebeok and published by Mouton de Gruyter; Zeitschrift für Semiotik; European Journal of Semiotics; Versus (founded and directed by Umberto Eco), et al.; The American Journal of Semiotics; and as articles accepted in periodicals of other disciplines, especially journals oriented toward philosophy and cultural criticism.
The major semiotic book series "Semiotics, Communication, Cognition", published by De Gruyter Mouton (series editors Paul Cobley and Kalevi Kull) replaces the former "Approaches to Semiotics" (more than 120 volumes) and "Approaches to Applied Semiotics" (series editor Thomas A. Sebeok). Since 1980 the Semiotic Society of America has produced an annual conference series: Semiotics: The Proceedings of the Semiotic Society of America.
Marketing is another application of semiotics. Epure, Eisenstat and Dinu (2014) said, "semiotics allows for the practical distinction of persuasion from manipulation in marketing communication" (p. 592). Semiotics are used in marketing as a persuasive device to influence buyers to change their attitudes and behaviors in the market place. Two ways that Epure, Eisenstat and Dinu (2014) 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.
Semiotics has sprouted subfields including, but not limited to, the following:
Pictorial semiotics 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. 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.
According to Göran Sonesson, a Swedish semiotician, pictures can be analyzed by three models: (a) the narrative model, which concentrates on the relationship between pictures and time in a chronological manner as in a comic strip; (b) the rhetoric model, which compares pictures with different devices as in a metaphor; and (c) the laokoon (or laocoon) model, which considers the limits and constraints of pictorial expressions by comparing textual mediums that utilize time with visual mediums that utilize space.
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.
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. Another concern is that with the high use of these symbols would begin to oversimplify our language to where the language's strength would be lost.
However, others have said that the use of emojis in digital conversation has helped to give more clarity to a conversation. Since the ability to read another person's facial expressions, nonverbal cues or tone of voice isn’t possible in a typed message, emojis allow a communicator to convey attitudes and emotions to their message receiver. 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. 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. In other words, it creates a connotation that is culturally-bound, and that violates some culture code. Theorists who have studied humor (such as Schopenhauer) suggest that contradiction or incongruity creates absurdity and therefore, humor. Violating a culture code creates this construct of ridiculousness for the culture that owns the code. 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. The intentional association of a product with another culture has been called Foreign Consumer Culture Positioning (FCCP). 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. Gang members use semiotics and symbols for many different reasons, for example: Government-sanctioned graffiti from the city's Department of Public Works, in red, typically indicates an abandoned building, or the stylized SS stands for South Side, a faction of the 18th Street gang based in southern Indianapolis. 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 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. This is true with a lot of symbols. 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. Many symbols in semiotics theory have different meanings; these meanings can be different from country to country or even just from person to person depending on where and how a person was raised. 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. A symbol does not stand on its own, it is a part of something, a system perhaps. 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. They are very territorial. To show which territory is theirs they will mark the streets so that other gangs are aware. 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. Each gang is unique and has special symbols, and these symbols usually have some sort of meaning. 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. When they do this, they will somehow cross the other gang's symbol, and they will use their gang slang as well. 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. A message that is part of a system.
It is not uncommon for those outside the culture of gangs to judge the meaning of graffiti and its direct connection to semiotics as completely negative. This kind of graffiti was branded "Graffiti of Grief" in an article by Gabrielle Luber. They are a commemoration of mourning; a "funeral" for those who have died on the streets. The murals are often created by members designated within the gang and the artwork is intended to "provide glimpses of their lives, possessions, friends, and surroundings, and map out for us the identities of lost friends." The symbols used in these murals are intentional and communicate significant meanings within the developed culture. It is an art, an expression of respect and loyalty. It is a portable headstone and is often layered (painted over) with the next memorial of death caused by street violence. In its own right, it is a historical timeline, a genealogy of grief, and it is rewritten every day with the same story and a new name. Poverty, marginalism, survival, perpetual crisis, inadequate housing, low or no job skills, poor education, and social constraints and constructs will continue to market for the consumption of lives on the streets. The symbol of grief portrayed in certain kinds of graffiti suggest a depth of meaning and a place or memorial far beyond what the eye can see. To an outsider, it may easily be interpreted without compassion.
A world organisation of semioticians, the International Association for Semiotic Studies, and its journal Semiotica, was established in 1969. The larger research centers together with teaching program include the semiotics departments at the University of Tartu, University of Limoges, Aarhus University, and Bologna University.
Golf as a sport has become a common element of the culture of the sports world. Semiotic analysis is one method in which scholars may come to understand the everyday practices within our culture that are appropriated through subtle nuances and our own cultural values. According to Hundley, Golf is no exception, to semiotic analysis because it is a naturalized phenomenon privy to examination and is representative of larger social issues within our culture.
Despite golf being a popular sport with a tremendous amount of literature and publications being written on it as a topic, the sport's literature is limited to investigations on equipment advances, investigations into different mental and physical training regimens, autobiographical works on great golfers of the past, travel narratives, and nonfiction narratives of golf events and professional golfers. Golf has received relatively little attention from scholars and social scientists. Golf has yet to be examined in detail through a semiotic lens.
Some preliminary analysis of semiotics of golf has been done on marketing commercials concerning golf. An example of a semiotic analysis of a golf commercial was done on Nike's Ripple commercial featuring a young Rory McIlroy worshipping the PGA Tour's Tiger Woods throughout his childhood before becoming a professional golfer himself and playing against Tiger Woods. The semiotic analysis of this commercial is an example of the next steps that are possible within the examination of golf through a semiotic lens.
|url=(help)Sonesson, Göran, 1989, Pictorial concepts. Inquiries into the semiotic heritage and its relevance for the analysis of the visual world, Lund: Lund University Press.(578 KiB)Pictorial concepts. Inquiries into the semiotic heritage and its relevance for the analysis of the visual world"Eprint" (PDF). (571 KiB).
Biosemiotics (from the Greek βίος bios, "life" and σημειωτικός sēmeiōtikos, "observant of signs") is a field of semiotics and biology that studies the prelinguistic meaning-making, or production and interpretation of signs and codes in the biological realm. Biosemiotics attempts to integrate the findings of biology and semiotics and proposes a paradigmatic shift in the scientific view of life, demonstrating that semiosis (sign process, including meaning and interpretation) is one of its immanent and intrinsic features. The term biosemiotic was first used by Friedrich S. Rothschild in 1962, but Thomas Sebeok and Thure von Uexküll have implemented the term and field. The field, which challenges normative views of biology, is generally divided between theoretical and applied biosemiotics.Computational semiotics
Computational semiotics is an interdisciplinary field that applies, conducts, and draws on research in logic, mathematics, the theory and practice of computation, formal and natural language studies, the cognitive sciences generally, and semiotics proper. A common theme of this work is the adoption of a sign-theoretic perspective on issues of artificial intelligence and knowledge representation. Many of its applications lie in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and fundamental devices of recognition.
One part of this field, known as algebraic semiotics, combines aspects of algebraic specification and social semiotics, and has been applied to user interface design and to the representation of mathematical proofs.Content word
In linguistics, content words are words that name objects of reality and their qualities. They signify actual living things (dog, cat, etc.), family members (mother, father, sister, etc.), natural phenomena (snow, Sun, etc.) common actions (do, make, come, eat, etc.), characteristics (young, cold, dark, etc.), etc. They consist mostly of nouns, lexical verbs and adjectives, but certain adverbs can also be content words. They contrast with function words, which are words that have very little substantive meaning and primarily denote grammatical relationships between content words, such as prepositions (in, out, under, etc.), pronouns (I, you, he, who, etc.), conjunctions (and, but, till, as, etc.), etc.All words can be classified as either content or function words, although it is not always easy to make the distinction. With only around 150 function words, 99.9% of words in the English language are content words. Although small in numbers, function words are used at a disproportionately higher rate and make up about 50% of any English text. This is due to the conventional patterns of words usage which bind function words to content words almost every time they are used, creating an interdependence between the two word groups.Content words are usually open class words, meaning new ones are easily added to the language. In relation to English phonology, content words adhere to the minimal word constraint of being no shorter than 2 morae long (i.e., a minimum length of 2 light syllables or one heavy syllable), while function words do not. Content words always have at least one stressed syllable, whereas function words are often completely unstressed.Denotation
Denotation is a translation of a sign to its meaning, precisely to its literal meaning, more or less like dictionaries try to define it. Denotation is sometimes contrasted to connotation, which includes associated meanings. The denotational meaning of a word is perceived through visible concepts, whereas connotational meaning evokes sensible attitudes towards the phenomena.Ethnosemiotics
Ethnosemiotics is a disciplinary perspective which links semiotics concepts to ethnographic methods.Masterpiece
Masterpiece, magnum opus (Latin, great work) or chef-d’œuvre (French, master of work, plural chefs-d’œuvre) in modern use is a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship. Historically, a "masterpiece" was a work of a very high standard produced to obtain membership of a guild or academy in various areas of the visual arts and crafts.Meaning
Meaning may refer to:
Meaning (existential), the worth of life in contemporary existentialism
Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language
Meaning (non-linguistic), a general term of art to capture senses of the word "meaning", independent from its linguistic uses
Meaning (philosophy of language), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy
Meaning (psychology), epistemological position, in psychology as well as philosophy, linguistics, semiotics and sociology
Meaning (semiotics), the distribution of signs in sign relations
The meaning of life, a notion concerning the nature of human existenceMeaning (semiotics)
In semiotics, the meaning of a sign is its place in a sign relation, in other words, the set of roles that it occupies within a given sign relation.
This statement holds whether sign is taken to mean a sign type or a sign token. Defined in these global terms, the meaning of a sign is not in general analyzable with full exactness into completely localized terms, but aspects of its meaning can be given approximate analyses, and special cases of sign relations frequently admit of more local analyses.
Two aspects of meaning that may be given approximate analyses are the connotative relation and the denotative relation. The connotative relation is the relation between signs and their interpretant signs. The denotative relation is the relation between signs and objects. An arbitrary association exists between the signified and the signifier.
For example, a US salesperson doing business in Japan might interpret silence following an offer as rejection, while to Japanese negotiators silence means the offer is being considered. This difference in interpretations represents a difference in: semioticsMedical sign
A medical sign is an objective indication of some medical fact or characteristic that may be detected by a patient or anyone, especially a physician, before or during a physical examination of a patient. For example, whereas a tingling paresthesia is a symptom (only the person experiencing it can directly observe their own tingling feeling), erythema is a sign (anyone can confirm that the skin is redder than usual). Symptoms and signs are often nonspecific, but often combinations of them are at least suggestive of certain diagnoses, helping to narrow down what may be wrong. In other cases they are specific even to the point of being pathognomonic.
Some signs may have no meaning to the patient, and may even go unnoticed, but may be meaningful and significant to the healthcare provider in assisting diagnosis.
Examples of signs include elevated blood pressure, a clubbing of the ends of fingers (which may be a sign of lung disease, or many other things), a staggering gait and arcus senilis of the eyes.
The term sign is not to be confused with the term indication, which in medicine denotes a valid reason for using some treatment.Semiotic anthropology
The phrase "semiotic anthropology" was first used by Milton Singer (1978). Singer's work brought together the semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce and Roman Jakobson with theoretical streams that had long been flowing in and around the University of Chicago, where Singer taught. In the late 1970s, Michael Silverstein, a young student of Jakobson's at Harvard University, joined Singer in Chicago's Department of Anthropology. Since that time, anthropological work inspired by Peirce's semiotic have proliferated, in part as students of Singer and Silverstein have spread out across the country, developing semiotic-anthropological agendas of their own.
Semiotic anthropology has its precursor in Malinowski's contextualism (which may be called anthropological semantics), which was later resumed by John Rupert Firth. Anthropological approaches to semantics are alternative to the three major types of semantics approaches: linguistic semantics, logical semantics, and general semantics. Other independent approaches to semantics are philosophical semantics and psychological semantics.Elizabeth Mertz has recently reviewed the burgeoning literature in semiotic anthropology (2007).Semiotic literary criticism
Semiotic literary criticism, also called literary semiotics, is the approach to literary criticism informed by the theory of signs or semiotics. Semiotics, tied closely to the structuralism pioneered by Ferdinand de Saussure, was extremely influential in the development of literary theory out of the formalist approaches of the early twentieth century.Semiotics of culture
Semiotics of culture is a research field within semiotics that attempts to define culture from semiotic perspective and as a type of human symbolic activity, creation of signs and a way of giving meaning to everything around. Therefore, here culture is understood as a system of symbols or meaningful signs. Because the main sign system is the linguistic system, the field is usually referred to as semiotics of culture and language. Under this field of study symbols are analyzed and categorized in certain class within the hierarchal system. With postmodernity, metanarratives are no longer as pervasive and thus categorizing these symbols in this postmodern age is more difficult and rather critical.
The research field was of particular interest for the Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School (USSR). Linguists and semioticians by the Tartu School viewed culture as a hierarchical semiotic system consisting of a set of functions correlated to it, and linguistic codes that are used by social groups to maintain coherence. These codes are viewed as superstructures based on natural language, and here the ability of humans to symbolize is central.
The study received a research ground also in Japan where the idea that culture and nature should not be contrasted and contradicted but rather harmonized was developed.Sign
A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is a sign of storm, or medical symptoms signify a disease. A conventional sign signifies by agreement, as a full stop signifies the end of a sentence; similarly the words and expressions of a language, as well as bodily gestures, can be regarded as signs, expressing particular meanings. The physical objects most commonly referred to as signs (notices, road signs, etc., collectively known as signage) generally inform or instruct using written text, symbols, pictures or a combination of these.
The philosophical study of signs and symbols is called semiotics; this includes the study of semiosis, which is the way in which signs (in the semiotic sense) operate.Sign (semiotics)
In semiotics, a sign is anything that communicates a meaning that is not the sign itself to the interpreter of the sign. The meaning can be intentional such as a word uttered with a specific meaning, or unintentional, such as a symptom being a sign of a particular medical condition. Signs can communicate through any of the senses, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or taste.
Two major theories describe the way signs acquire the ability to transfer information. Both theories understand the defining property of the sign as a relation between a number of elements. In the tradition of semiotics developed by Ferdinand de Saussure (referred to as semiology) the sign relation is dyadic, consisting only of a form of the sign (the signifier) and its meaning (the signified). Saussure saw this relation as being essentially arbitrary (the principle of semiotic arbitrariness), motivated only by social convention. Saussure's theory has been particularly influential in the study of linguistic signs. The other major semiotic theory, developed by C. S. Peirce, defines the sign as a triadic relation as "something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity" This means that a sign is a relation between the sign vehicle (the specific physical form of the sign), a sign object (the aspect of the world that the sign carries meaning about) and an interpretant (the meaning of the sign as understood by an interpreter). According to Peirce signs can be divided by the type of relation that holds the sign relation together as either icons, indices or symbols. Icons are those signs that signify by means of similarity between sign vehicle and sign object (e.g. a portrait, or a map), indices are those that signify by means of a direct relation of contiguity or causality between sign vehicle and sign object (e.g. a symptom), and symbols are those that signify through a law or arbitrary social convention.Symbol
A symbol is a mark, sign or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences. All communication (and data processing) is achieved through the use of symbols. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a blue line might represent a river. Numerals are symbols for numbers. Alphabetic letters may be symbols for sounds. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. A red rose may symbolize love and compassion. The variable 'x', in a mathematical equation, may symbolize the position of a particle in space.
In cartography, an organized collection of symbols forms a legend for a map.Syntax
In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences (sentence structure) in a given language, usually including word order. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes. The goal of many syntacticians is to discover the syntactic rules common to all languages.
In mathematics, syntax refers to the rules governing the notation of mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic.Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School
The Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School is a scientific school of thought in the field of semiotics that was formed in 1964 and led by Juri Lotman. Among the other members of this school were Boris Uspensky, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Vladimir Toporov, Mikhail Gasparov, Alexander Piatigorsky, Isaak I. Revzin, and others. As a result of their collective work, they established a theoretical framework around the semiotics of culture.Thomas Sebeok
Thomas Albert Sebeok (born Sebők, Hungarian: [ˈʃɛbøːk], in Budapest, Hungary, on November 9, 1920; died December 21, 2001 in Bloomington, Indiana) was a polymath American semiotician and linguist.Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco (5 January 1932 – 19 February 2016) was an Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher, semiotician, and university professor. He is widely known for his 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), a historical mystery combining semiotics in fiction with biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory. He later wrote other novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, topped the bestseller charts in Italy.Eco also wrote academic texts, children's books, and essays. He was the founder of the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Republic of San Marino, president of the Graduate School for the Study of the Humanities at the University of Bologna, member of the Accademia dei Lincei, and an honorary fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford.Eco was honoured with the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement in 2005 along with Roger Angell.
Sub-fields of and approaches to human geography