Going dreadfully slowly through David Chandler’s introduction to semiotics and wanted to note a couple of things down.

Substance & Form

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.24.50 

Illustration 1. David Chandler, Semiotics, 2001

The above table from Chandler’s book is useful in relation to questions I have been asking about how different objects used to express something can potentially impact on meaning.  “Such a metric provides a useful framework for the systematic analysis of texts, broaden the notion of what constitutes a sign, and reminds us that the materiality of the sign may in itself signify” (Chandler, 2001; 18%).  In other words, whether you use an iPhone or a box brownie to take a photograph is highly relevant and how that informs meaning should not be underestimated.

Iconic, Symbolic or Indexical


I also, thanks to my tutor responding to a question I asked via email, now have much a clearer understanding of the difference between the three categories of sign. I am aware that each category is not impervious and a complex sign might be described as all three.

Iconic – it looks like the thing it represents as shown in the illustration above – the little graphic representations of male and female people we see on toilet doors

Symbolic – we learn what the sign means as it bears no obvious relation to the thing it represents for instance, green means go

Indexical – a shadow, imprint or trace, such as Mary Kelly’s soiled baby nappies which I discussed in A2. A photograph might be described as indexical and yet it might also be either of the above at the same time

References :

Chandler, D. (2002). Semiotics. London: Routledge.

Meier, J (2011). A Basic Introduction to Semiotics, On Linked In, http://image.slidesharecdn.com/semiotics-111003144047-phpapp02/95/semiotics-9-728.jpg?cb=1318130545 (Accessed 3 July 2016)


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