February 3, 2007

Saussure writes of semiology that it is “A science that studies the life of signs within society.  Semiology would show what constitutes signs and what laws govern them”-page 962

What we took from that is that semiology is intended to by a system that isolates language and focuses on the building blocks of the process of attaching a word to a sign.  Each language is essentially a naming system with the words being different for each language.  Semiology would look to discover how it is that a language arrives at the naming process.

For example, “Stop” signs in Canada may have a different word on them, but based on color and shape you would still stop. 


One Response to “Semiology”

  1. kmiddleton said

    You all have concisely wrapped up one of the most important ideas that Saussure brings on home: the idea of language as a system of building blocks. I think Big S. would be a bit troubled by the idea of a “naming system”, as he thinks the process of a sound attaching to a concept is a bit more random than that of naming, but in the big picture, your ideas are right on.

    To apply that to same process to a system of signs, rather than of language, then, I think I’d rephrase your sentence as follows: “Semiology would look to discover how it is that a SIGN arrives at the SIGNIFICATION process.” He wants semiology to represent all different systems of signs, language being only one of many.

    As an example of this, your stop sign is perfect! Regardless of the word, we recognize what that sign means—and it’s something about the color and shape that lead us to know that we should stop (as opposed to language, which would use a sound-image to lead us to that idea).

    Get ready for the comic book, where all of your thinking about this is going to kick in!

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