Author: Nancy Esslinger

In this lesson you will learn to define and recognize the use of semiotics, a perceptual communications theory.

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  • Semiotics

    The study of how signs and symbols make meaning.

  • Charles Sanders Peirce

    American philosopher and developer of the formal theory of semiotics. Peirce developed a precise system for describing signs, including the terms symbol, icon and index.

  • Roland Barthes

    French literary critic who extended early semiotic theory to mass media and popular culture. Barthes is considered the founder of contemporary semiotics.

  • Sign

    Something that stands for something other than itself.

  • Symbol

    A sign which has no logical connection to what it signifies. The viewer must learn the connection between the sign and its meaning.

  • Index

    A sign that can be understood because it is logically linked to or affected by what it stands for.

  • Icon

    A sign that physically resembles what it signifies.