Glossary

Aesthetic codes:
a term that derives from Eco's aesthetic text, meaning a text developed according to particular stylistic values that fashion the form and content through presentation.

Codes:
(or 'genres') occur at the level of metalanguage. Necessarily complex, they incorporate all levels and types of expression in a way that patterns of occurrence are exposed to form knowable general entities.

Connotation:
imply in addition to the original meaning, e.g. in the case of graphic design by placing type next to a picture one takes meaning from the other; change the colour of the type and the meaning changes again, and so on. Connotation tends to work through style or tone of presentation.

Denotation:
expression by marks or symbols, designating, implying no connotative attributes. Refers to the simple relation between a sign and its referent. E.g. between the picture of a dog and the word 'dog'.

Grammar:
a field of art and/or science to do with the relations between all the elements of language and its correct/usual usage.

Ideology:
called by Fiske and Hartley the 3rd order of connotation as an unconscious, invisible organizing principle e.g. in the case of magazine design, one could argue that its ideological intent is to seek out and hold/maintain markets, thereby maintaining the class structure of a society as a reliable marketplace.

Language:
both the vocabulary and use of words to express meaning in particular cultures.

Langue:
is most easily described in English as 'language' and it refers to the formal structure of language, its vocabulary, but especially its grammar. Without these qualities of language it wouldn't make proper or intended sense because its structure would be incorrect.

Media:
refers to any type of communication. In McLuhan's terminology this might be as any kind or combination of sensory extension.

Media form:
refers to a particular type and structure of media and derives from an analysis of its delivery form and structure. Media are of course complex in that they combine various forms and types of messages in formalized patterns of relationship.

Metalanguage:
the secondary form of semiosis named by Roland Barthes in Mythologies.

Metaphor:
application of a name or descriptive form to an object it does not literally belong to or describe. Metaphor is a form of rhetoric.

Myth:
(or metalanguage) is the secondary level of semiosis that connotes meaning through the process of presentation and context. It is always a cultural product and usually ideological in intent.

Parole:
roughly translates to 'speech', and like spoken language, often doesn't adhere to formal structure e.g. slang or dialect. So parole provides space for change, experimentation and invention of new forms.

Referent:
(or referent system) usually a commonly understood, culturally-given system of meaning e.g. dogs are four legged animals, often domesticated, that bark and come in many well known varieties, therefore, when we think 'dog', we think of it in relation to what else we know about dogs Ė this total dog knowledge is our 'dog' referent system.

Rhetoric:
deriving from the ancient Greeks; rhetoric is the art of persuasive or impressive speaking. Visual rhetoric has been invented to incorporate rhetorical theory into visual terms.

Semiotic theory:
derives from the writing of linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce as the science of signs in society. As it seeks to impose analytical order on a diverse range of variables, it is structuralist in intent.

Sense ratios:
a term invented by Marshall McLuhan to describe the multi-sourced sensory input provided by different or particular media to which we might be exposed.

Sensory extensions:
used by Marshall McLuhan to describe the sense/s occupied or entertained by particular media. E.g. print media occupy the eye only; radio the ear; television the eye and the ear.

Sign:
the basic component of semiotic analysis. The sign is always in dynamic relation to the signifier and signified that make up its composition. Often presented as an equation.

Sign function:
when the expression of the sign is correlated to a particular sign content. Sign function refers to a signís main intended usage or application. Term derives from Eco.

Sign producer/sign production:
Eco is the only semiotician to concentrate his theory on sign production. Here signs might be understood as products of institutionalized systems of production.

Signified:
the context/situation/setting in which the signifier is placed and which gives a particular slant or meaning to the signifier (connotation). The most subjective component of the sign.

Signifier:
the object/text under view that makes up the denoted, more objective, component of the sign.

Speech:
spoken language. Generally this is regarded as raw text unmodified by secondary presentation e.g. through typography.

Structure:
refers to scientific investigation deriving from systematic research, testing and analysis of information derived from the material and observable world.

Text:
usually refers to the written or literary content of speech that has been recorded in visually recognizable form.

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