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2018 Vol. 9 №4

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The problem of meaning in Social Semiotics: deep semiotics as a conceptual extension of Social Semiotics



Semiotic systems are closely associated with social practices, within which the former record, store, and disseminate social experience. These systems affect the human consciousness to change the semantic picture of the world, behaviour, and the way one perceives reality. Almost all cultural artefacts perform the function of a sign. As a semiotic system develops special signs emerge to replace the artefacts by denoting them. Iconic signs are based upon resemblance, index signs upon a causal relationship, and symbols on social conventions. Language is the most important system of symbolisation. Indeed, language serves as a guide to the systems of rules, values, and socio-cultural practices. In this paper, I present a model of deep semiotics, which is interpreted as a semantic structure of social experience objectified into a sign. This structure includes the material form, the referential meaning, and the personal meaning (attitudes and experiences) of the sign. This model describes the levels and dynamics of the assimilation and subjectification (de-objectification, understanding) of social experience. At the same time, the model demonstrates the objectification of experience. The components of the semantic structure represent the levels of understanding – identification, referencing, interpretation, evaluation, and empathy.


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