Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ferdinand de Saussure: Semiotics.

This is Ferdinand de Saussure.
Just look at that beautiful moustache.
Hi. Here is some information on the theorist Ferdinand de Saussure, and his theory on semiotics, or signs and signifiers.

Who was Ferdinand de Saussure?

Ferdinand de Saussure was a Swiss man with a very impressive moustache and a hard name to spell. However, that's not all he's known for. He was a linguist and a philosopher who is considered the father of 20th century linguistics. One of his most famous theories was that of semiotics and semiology, which I'll go into more depth in the next part.

What is semiotics?
Semiotics is the study of signs (signs as in symbols and symbolism, if that makes any sense). For example, if you see this image, you immediately think of peace and hippies, because that is a symbol people have come to associate with those things. In semiotics, the physical object that we see is called the signifier, what the signifier implies is what has been signified. Ferdinand Saussure stated that there is no necessary connection between the signifier and what it signifies, which sets him apart from other philosophers, who assumed there must have been some connection. He stated that no words are meaningful; they are all signifiers, which link to the signified meaning in the brain to make the sign. Another example of signs and signifiers would be if you see two taps; one has a red top and one has a blue top. When seeing this, what would you assume? The red one is hot and the blue one is cold. And why is this? Because you see it, you link it with what your brain already knows, and so we assume that these taps follow convention and don't turn the red one on full blast.

It sounds a lot more confusing than it actually is, I'm just extremely bad with words...