MA Anthropology Student Guide: SemioticsSemiology Basics

Semiotic Terminology
A collection of simple definitions of common semiotic terms, arranged by smallest , most basic terms and progressing towards the larger and more complex definitions.

Semiotics For Beginners
A great place to start with semiotics, including sections on signs, modality and representation, encoding and decoding strategies, paradigms and syntagms, and more.

Rhetorical Tropes in Semiotics
A look at sign systems that rely on literary devices to influence the reader, such as metaphors, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.

An introductory slide show of sorts for beginners, including a brief history, terms to know and use, and the different classes of signs.

History of Semiotics

Medieval Semiotics
From Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, this page looks at specific sources of medieval semiotics and its evolution from the 11th century to the early 16th century.

Semiotics: Language and Culture
This article looks at the history of semiotics beginning with Prodicus, Russian influences on semiology, and its modern schools of thought.

Plato and the Birth of Conceptual Thought
This essay looks at the birth of ethical concepts, logos, and discusses the beginning of human thought in its relation to metaphysics.

Semiotics of Human Body and Character: Aristotle’s Logical Foundation of Physiognomics
A look at Aristotle’s earliest syllogisms and assigning of character traits to physical features.

Critical Semiotics

The Lingua Franca of Semioticians
An introduction of sorts to semiotics, the beginning of this lecture series looks at different paradigms and means of discussing and using semiology.

Two Extensive Critiques of Semiotics
A comprehensive look and critique of two studies in the study of semiology that worked to move beyond the basic concepts of semiotic analysis.

The Implications of Codes
This lecture looks at the challenges of lenses that encoders and decoders are forced to look through, and features a great mini-encyclopedia of different, common codes.

The “Problem” of Controlling the Decoder
The danger of the decoder comes to light in this lecture, which focuses on the inconsistencies and perspectives of decoders.

The Limits of “System” and the Authority of the Encoder
This lecture looks at structure or system, system or process, and discusses the politics of systemics.

Finite Infinite Semiosis
Though logically confined according to this lecture, the lecture also contends that semiology remains infinitely open to interpretation and reevaluation.

Semiotics Based on Radical Polysemy, Structuration, and Play
Lecture seven in the series looks at different theories of play and semiosis in sign theory as well as horizontal semiotics.

Disciplines within Semiotics

Pictorial Semiotics
Visual pictures and their meanings; how do images contain language-like meanings?

Systemic Semiotics
A look at social semiotic contributions to the systemic semiotic framework, and key concepts in social semiotics are explained and applied to systemic semiotic workpractices.

Algebraic Semiotics
This site provides a basic explanation of algebraic semiotics and actual applications of the approach to user interface designs.

A thorough, easy to understand answer to the question, what is included in the study of biosemiotics.

Computational Semiotics
This site provides a thorough understanding of computational semiotics, including introductions to knowledge units, as well as dicent and rhematic knowledge.

A basic explanation of ecosemiotics, how it differs from biosemiotics and cultural semiotics and suggested reading.

Semiotics in Modern Society

Semiotics Institute Online
A collection of famous lectures from professors around the globe, regarding syntax, pictorial images, semiotic modeling of biological practices, and many more.

Semiotics: A Primer for Designers
This article looks at how semiotics assists designers in understanding the relationships between signs, what the signs stand for to different people, and the people who decode the signs.

Marketing Semiotics
Read how the interaction between seller and buyer has evolved from a one-way flow of communication to how semiotics can help facilitate an exchange between the two.

Famous Authors in Semiotics

Roland Barthes
Heralded as the author who made structuralism one of the leading intellectual movements of the 20th century.

Mikhail Bakhtin
Bakhtin’s views on linguistics and speech proved to be successful arguments against the more extreme views of Postmodernism.

Umberto Eco
Eco’s fame stems largely from his acclaimed “book about books”, expanding the field of semiotics into detective fiction.

Sandra Moriarty
Authoring and co-authoring nine books on marketing and semiotics, Moriarty looks at the construction and mission of signs.

Charles S. Peirce
An undisputedly creative intellectual, Peirce’s list of titles range from semiotician and rhetorician to actor and chemist.

Papers, Essays, and Further Reading

An essay concerning images: From rhetoric to semiotics by way of ecological physics
This essay searches out ways to explain the workings of visual rhetoric and how it’s created.

The Semiotic Review of Books
A multidisciplinary journal that tri-annually publishes articles reviewing a host of different topics within the humanities and social sciences.

Marketing on the Internet: A Semiotic Analysis
This article examines a study focusing on how semiotics can be used to reveal messages behind internet marketing.