A Critique On Semiotics Theory Essay

522 words - 2 pages

A Critique on Semiotics Theory

In the early 1900s Ferdinand de Saussure coined the term semiology. Semiology is concerned with "anything that can stand for something else." French writer Roland Barthes concentrates on interpreting signs. His ultimate goal is to explain how seemingly straightforward signs pick up ideological or connotative meaning and work to maintain the cultural status quo. In the book, A First Look at Communication Theory, Em Griffin presents the semiotics theory then later goes on to critique it. As for myself, I believe Barthes' theory is right in some ways and in other ways is not.

In Barthes' theory he states that a sign has a signifier and a signified. The signifier is something you can see and grasp. What the signifier represents is the signified. Together the two make up a sign. You cannot have one without the other. My communication professor gave an example of this by using the word "dog". When she said dog I immediately thought of a furry, four-legged animal. The dog being the signifier and the image being the signified. Together they make a sign.

Barthes also mentions in his theory that signs have connotative meaning and denotative meaning. What he means by this is a sign starts out with a denotative meaning and through our interpretation it develops a connotative meaning. In his critique he goes on to say that it is possible a sign could start out "connotatively innocent." My opinion on the theory is the sign starts with a denotative meaning and can only have connotative meaning after we have...

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