Week 10 – Semiotics and Meaning





Above three words are the basic to understand semiotics.

I found an example to make it easy to understand the terms above.

Short text Message Service (SMS) are widely use in mobile phone for communication. Especially popular among Asian young girl, who prefer to communicate via SMS. Each message is limited to 160 character in each message. In order to maximize the content in each message, different abbreviation are produced, as if a new language: SMS language.

Take ASAP for example.

ASAP is a ‘Signifer’, which is the physical form of sign.

ASAP, from the initials of As Soon As Possible’ , is ‘Signified’ to be ‘as soon as possible’.

The ‘Sign’, ‘ASAP’ is formed. From being meaningless, to can be interpreted as  ‘as soon as possible’.

Some ‘signs’ are more creative.

like ‘^_^’ is a happy face. or ‘:)’ is also a smiling face. This codes condense the meaning into picture. Vibrant the text message.

SMS usage also appear in Movie. Example can be found  in ‘The Departed’ (2006). In one scene, Leonardo DiCaprio sent a SMS with a symbol ‘$’, to alert his boss Queenan, acted byMartin Sheen, the drug dealer is doing transaction.


Srivastava, L. (2005) ‘ Mobile phones and the evolution of social behaviour’  Behaviour & Information Technology, Vol. 24, No. 2, March – April 2005, 111 – 129


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