Some notes that I wrote down during the lecture to get to grips with the idea of semiotics. In which I have learnt that semiotics is defined as the study of signs & sign systems within society. Anything that is capable of conveying meaning is a sign (eg words, images, clothes, gestures and
Semiotics simplified in video form
If, like me, you sometimes struggle to get grips with a new idea simply from reading then this is a very simplified video, which explains semiotics in a friendly way.
Signs and Myths
This text I have annotated is an extract from Jonathan Bignall’s “Media Semiotics”. It mainly discusses the work of Ferdinand de Sassure, who studied language as signs and Charles Pierce, who also studied semiotics looking at signs as imagery.
-langue: whole language system
- sign: single word
- parole: partial example of speech or writing
-syntagm: a complete, ordered sequence of signs. eg: a sentence [My-dog-smells-terrible.]
-paradigm: point of substitution in a sentence (or group of signs) which allows for an exchange > of a similar sign, metaphorical sign or abstract sign, without changing the overall structure.
The World of Wrestling
This annotated text is from Roland Barthes, “The world of wrestling from mythologies”. It discusses the use of semiotics within the world of wrestling and how using excessive gestures conveys to the audience the sign of violence, but without actually conflicting any real damage to the participants. The signs are exaggerated, repeated and constantly reinforced which makes them easily understood by the audience and is in fact exactly what they want. They want to see justice carried out as they so rarely see it in their daily lives.
Sign = signifier (gesture) + signified (concept)
YouTube video of Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks
During the lecture we watched this video of two wrestlers in the 1980s, fulfilling their roles as the Good vs Evil characters expected in all wrestling matches. Big Daddy being the hero of the match and the ‘good guy’ perfectly carrying out his role and executing justice by knocking Giant Haystacks out of the ring, who happened to fall onto a perfectly positioned table softened by flowers. It was a ‘spectacle of excessive gestures’ depicting an ‘image of passion, but not passion itself’ conveyed how signs are used within the world of wrestling from exaggerated movements, to the body language of the wrestlers and the body image of the wrestlers themselves. We were given some questions to answer while watching this video which you can read in my notes at the top.