How does language, words and imagery 'work'?

  • Representation is the process through which meaning is constructed.
  • Every language is a system of signs (symbols, codes) that helps us to comprehend the world and communicate those understandings.


We can differentiate between three different aspects of a sign:

  1. The signifier (the word, picture, sound, gesture, smell, taste)
  2. The signified (the mental concept that appears in our heads when we read, view, or hear the signifier)
  3. The referent (the actual object out there in the world)

Signs are:

  1. Arbitrary: there is often no 'natural' link between signifier and signified.
  2. Relational: signs get their meaning in relation to other signs
  3. Constitute our world: languages make communication possible and are the tools through which we understand the world and ourselves

Who gets to have their own concepts associated with an aspect of their world to dominate how we all think about it?

(A question of power)

The media is an arena in which participants - media organisations, politicians, PR practitioners etc. - 'struggle' to reproduce their preferred meanings.

Similar posts: