Semiology

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Semiology, the most complicated word I have come across so far. I’m going to have a go at trying to explain the basics of it but even I’m struggling with getting my head around it so apologies in advance if I’m wrong!

Semiology – made up by the signifier and the signified.

Signifier – is the object itself e.g. a tattoo, a picture, the way someone is dressed on an advert.

Signified – is the meaning conveyed by the signifier.

There are many words and definitions within semiology which describe ways of seeing things so most of this blogs are definitions of words…

Compositional Modality – Focusing on the composition – Interrelations of parts of the image.

Social Modality – Based on the meaning the viewer gets from the image.

Anchorage – Anchorage is how the text secures the meaning of the image e.g. a picture of a dog (we know it’s a dog) but by putting ‘woof’ next to the image it secures the meaning, thats its definitely a dog.

Appellation – meaning the image or whatever media is hailing tot he viewer.

Syntagmatic – All the items within an image creates the meaning e.g. the, mat, sat, cat, the, on. put these words in a sentence and the meaning becomes apparent – the cat sat on the mat.

Paradigmatic – This is the opposite to syntagmatic, the image gains meaning from contrast with all the other possible signs.

Icon – the direct object to identify, representation of the object e.g. a tree, we know it doesn’t look like a tree in reality but we still know its a tree as it represents it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 14.44.57
My attempt at a basic tree

Symbol – Changes from likeness to association, connotation – what it creates e.g. a heart can mean love and valentines day rather than the muscle inside the human body.

Index – A very close relationship between the signifier and the signified.

Denotative Reading – A straight forward meaning – literal meaning e.g. a picture of pasta is just a picture of some pasta

Connotive Reading – The possible relation, association e.g. same pasta as before but you would associate it with Italy.

Metonymic Sign – a typical sign that adds other meanings e.g. Baby = future.

Synecdoche Sign – One item symbolises the whole thing e.g. Eiffel Tower = Paris/France.

Codes  – Subliminal messages, ideology.

Ok I think thats it so far, there are plenty more definitions that are linked with the signified and the signify but for now thats all I can take in when it comes to big fancy words and definitions. Even though there are so many I found it quite enjoyable to learn these and now I have a little more understanding of what semiology is all about and I can now refer back to this when creating a new image or starting a complex essay.

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