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Theories of language and representation The way we communicate and share ideas and concepts in our society is complex How do we conceptualize ideas and explain them to others How does discourse work and how do we understand each other What is truth and what is not Many questions can be asked about how language discourse and representation are organized and the way they work Implicit rules of communication exist in our society without even being aware of them Saussure Barthe and Foucault are three theorists who took different directions in answering these questions I will discuss their research and findings which are known as Saussures Social Constructionist view of language and representation the Semiotic Approach of Roland Barthe and Foucaults explication of Discourse Knowledge and Power Saussure the father of modern linguistics contributed to a general semiotic approach He was interested in how we understand meaning and how representation works He saw language as a system of signs which conveys information to us and gives meaning to us Signs are meant to communicate ideas and concepts He divided the system of language into three interrelated parts which are the signifier the signified and the sign The signifier is the real object or written word that everybody can see while the signified is the corresponding concept triggered in our heads The signified is the idea of the object and therefore is not real It is flexible and the signified changes from person to person The sign is a whole which consists of the union of the signifier and the signified The sign is the package of the real object and the ideas that object triggers in our heads The signifier and the signified are related and defined by linguistic and social codes This means that a specific signifier does not trigger identical ideas in every society because the codes change from one society to another For example for one society a bottle of
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