Semiotics for Beginners
Preface 1. Introduction 2. Signs 3. Modality and Representation 4. Paradigms and Syntagms 5. Syntagmatic Analysis 6. Paradigmatic Analysis 8. Rhetorical Tropes 9. Codes 10. Modes of Address 11. Encoding/Decoding 12. Articulation 13. Intertextuality 14. Criticisms of Semiotic Analysis 16. D.I.Y. SemioticAnalysis
7. Denotation, Connotation and Myth 15. Strengths of Semiotic Analysis
Glossary; References; Suggested Reading; Index; Semiotics Links; S4B Message Board; S4B Chatroom 'Something of a classic. An absolute must for those looking for either an introduction to the topic or an inspiring and insightful reader.' - Glyn Winter, Educational and Qualitative Research Archive
Semiotics forBeginners by Daniel Chandler
Preface I have been asked on a number of occasions how I came to write this text, and for whom. I wrote it initially in 1994 for myself and for my students in preparation for a course I teach on Media Education for 3rd year undergraduates at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. In my opinion, an understanding of semiotics is essential for anyone studying the massmedia - or communication or cultural studies. No comparable text on the subject existed at the time so I rashly attempted to create one which suited my own purposes and those of my students. It was partly a way of advancing and clarifying my own understanding of the subject. Like many other readers my forays into semiotics had been frustrated by many of the existing books on the subject whichfrequently seemed almost impossible to understand. As an educationalist, I felt that the authors of such books should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. The subject of meaning-making is of understandable fascination for a very wide readership, but most of the existing books seemed to seek to make it confusing, dull and deeply obscure. The academic priorities which led me to write this text hadconsequences for its evolution. However, since I wrote the original text I have broadened its scope considerably, so that there are now frequent references not only to the mass media but also to other subjects, such as literature, art and mythology. One of the things that attracted me to semiotics was the way in which it supports my own enjoyment of crossing the 'boundaries' of academic disciplines, and ofmaking connections between apparently disparate phenomena. I have grown with the text: its easily revisable online form has allowed me not to feel that I have 'outgrown' it. However, I am not a polymath, so there are inevitably many subjects which are neglected here. In this text I have confined myself to human semiosis, so that this is not the place to find an introduction to such branches ofsemiotics as that concerned with the behaviour and communication of animals (zoosemiotics). Nor do I discuss the semiotics of communication between machines. My focus is on the humanities and so there is no mathematical semiotics here either. Even within the humanities, I did not feel competent to cover musical or architectural semiotics. I know that students of some of these subjects are amongstthose who have consulted the online text, which lends me some hope that they will still find the exploration of general principles of some relevance to their own priorities. The exclusion of certain subjects is not, of course, to suggest that they are any less important to the semiotic enterprise. The unavoidable selectivity of the text invites the productivity of the reader in its deconstruction.Driven by their own purposes, readers will no doubt be alert 'what is conspicuous by its absence'. Semiotics is a huge field, and no treatment of it can claim to be comprehensive. My attempt to offer a coherent account of some key concepts is in some ways misleading: there are divergent schools of thought in semiotics, and there is remarkably little consensus amongst contemporary theorists...