Archive for the ‘signs’ Category

Give me a sign

May 19, 2010

A key point I that I felt was illustrated was that we can make explicit the meaning we want to create through the use of binaries.  For example if someone said the picture a sandwich to me today I would automatically think of the chicken schnitzel sandwich I had as a late night snack last night.  If this person were trying to tell me a sandwich was a healthy choice, in the context of my reality it wouldn’t work –I wouldn’t make the connection.  However if they were to say, “you could eat a greasy Big Mac, on the other hand you could have a sandwich” by explaining what they are not talking about I gain an understanding of what they are trying to convey.

The problem with Saussure’s ideas on semitoics and signs is that he doesn’t take into account that the signified (concerpt being evoked by the signifier) is also a signifier in itself.  If you say cats I think

But then when you think about it that image of a cat can change from person to person and therefore depending on the image evokes a different concept.

I felt that the Lury reading further explored Peirce.

“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, or perhaps a more developed sign.”

When doing some further reading on Peirce his ideas involving the connection between a sign, the object and interpretant follow very closely to Saussure it still leaves room for interpretation and context.

I guess essentially signs/logos/language is all about the attempt to control meaning and therefore a power struggle between those conveying a message and those receiving.

Reworking our wiring

May 18, 2010

Like most of you, I found this weeks readings to be very though provoking and insightful. Not only in a linguistics sense but also in human interactivity with the world. Without being too existential, the key idea that I gained from this weeks readings is that perhaps as a society, we have become lazy and rely on the sign to dictate our thinking. We see this so much in the way advertising has infiltrated our lives, no longer do we have to have all three systems of relation in the one ad to understand what is the ad purpose. Nowadays we will just see one of the 3 and understand subconsciously what is being presented to us.

Think of the way that language has evolved. MacDonalds is a universal empire, however we have uniquely taken it’s name and evolved it into our conversational repertoire    – Maccas, MD’s, etc. This is a clear indication of Volosinov’s propositions, particularly that of signs being adaptable and changeable. This video show’s how we are able to so intrinsically take in so much branding without recognising. Lauren might recognise the brands a bit more than us, but you get the gist of it!

However it’s even more dangerous than the infiltration of marketing and branding into our brains constantly. As seen in the Annabelle Lukin reading “Reporting War: grammar as covert operation”, the power of the masses is destabilised through the editing and control of the signified. By controlling the active voice of communication many journalists can dramatically impact transformation of the sign to the signified. The political meaning overlap between this reading and the original Signs and Meaning readings by Shirato+ Yell is seen through the censoring of content, and it’s something that is still very relevant in an age of internet censorship and how the government frames the key concerns of this generation – violence, pornography, fraud, lack of morality and a constant lack of privacy . It’s a bit scary to see how this impacts us so easily every day. But we have such limited control over any of it.

Happy pondering all.

A sign of the meaning

May 18, 2010

Shirato & Yell’s reading, signs and meaning, was one that i thoroughly enjoyed due to the simple yet paradoxical nature of their points. The reading explores what and how we take meaning from the signs (images, ads, actual signs, situations) around us.

I personally believe, as the authors have pointed out, that it really is all about context. A stop sign tghat we see on the street carries the meaning that we associate with it on the street. For instance, if we were to see that exact sign say… on the toilet, it carry a similiar meaning but be entirely different, due to the context. one of the definitions that the reading points out is:

“contexts are never identical for, or completely shared by, particpants.”

So every situation we see around us carries seemingly similar meaning, yet differs in an almost infinite number of possibilities. The authors of the article discuss Saussure, which this video covers quite well:

I think to simply this morning and recognise, like the example used in the piece (the ‘violence’ example) that words can take entirely different meanings. Tony Abbot’s gaffe about his remarks in ‘heated or robust discussion’ have stirred the media and in reality voters to question the validity of all of his responses. the words he used, would they be used in a different context, would take on the meaning of someone merely admitting a mistake. however, as the authors concluded:

  1. words do not function as labels that can be unproblematically attached to things or acts or experiences;

What we ordinarily define as a ‘sign’ is simply a static form of communication. all communicating, whether be by language, body language, viral, signs, etc etc etc etc, carries a unique set of meanings that we associate to each part of the equation. The responder communicates by sending data (hand signals, words, facial expressions) and the respondee interprets this data against the set of meanings normally associated with it. It all sounds very digital and unhuman but seems the easiest way of metaphorically describing the communication between two humans (ironic hey). to end i’ll leave you guys with a little abstract video about semiotics.

*tip: read into the meaning whatever you want