Semiotics For Dummies: The Intersection of Nature and Culture

Essay by ThisKidHereUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, March 2006

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Semiotics is a discipline which stems from the work and theories of American logician C. S. Peirce and the French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. The idiom originates from the Greek word seemeiootikee, which denotes the study of signs, what they represent and signify, and how human beings act, interact and think in their universe. This branch of learning and understanding can be best described as a system of many communication theories and techniques which can be viewed as pieces of a puzzle. When these fragments are connected and pieced together, they make visible, the intricate design of human interaction and interpersonal communication.

Semiotics lies intermediary between philosophy and philology and is nothing less than an objectification, or self-expression, or interpretation and the formation and comprehension of meaning. This area of study is a combination between scientific discipline and a world-view. Semiotics is an enormously broad approach to understanding such matters as meaning, cognition, culture, behavior, even life itself.

At the heart of this discipline lies the notion of sign. A sign, according to Charles S. Peirce, widely acknowledged to be one of the seminal thinkers about semiotics, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. It is the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior and the analysis of systems of communication. These signs take the form of words, images, sounds, acts or objects, but have no genuine meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning- nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted and brings about some form of meaning.

Understanding semiology assists in the true understanding of one's self, others, and how we view the world around us. Inherently, humans are reactors. Because it is human nature to act, or react toward people, items, and instances on...