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The Role of Semiotics, Hermeneutics, and Rhetorics in Understanding of a Text

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The texts that are given by the authors and what the readers understand may not be the same at first. This is because of background knowledge and perspective, but the definitions that are constructed can be changed when paying particular attention to the internal structure of the texts. Semiotics, hermeneutics, and rhetorics are the main things that adjust the understanding of the spectator. The understanding can be perceive by signs, language, and how we interpret them. We could say that rhetorics focus on how the writer expresses their thoughts on the message. Meanwhile, hermeneutics are about the relationship between recipients and the texts, and semiotics are signs and symbols. Semiotics are the study of the way we use and interpret certain signs and symbols. It deals with relevant examples such as physical signs and abstract concepts, known as denotation and connotation.

First, there are many things to be explained about signifier and signified. Signifier is a physical form of signs such as sounds, words, and images that lead to the understanding of communication. It could be pictures or spoken words, or even the string of letters. Signified is an idea that a signifier refers to and it depends on who you are. As an example, the signifier of the application ‘Instagram’ is just Instagram, differently, in the term of signified it could mean social media and some people may think of it as an entertainment or the way to keep in touch with their friends and family. Another example is an apple. In terms of signifier it is a red round fruit, but in signified which is a mental concept, it could symbolise healthiness or education.

In addition, there are three different categories of signs in the signifier. It consists of icon, symbol, and index. Icon is similar to signified in terms of it being a representation of something, for example, the image of a bicycle. We always think of the bicycle straight away when we see it. There are no needs of word to express the definition of the object. Icon is opposite to symbol, it does not have a resemblance to the signifier that is being represented. Symbol gives the explanation why cultures can emerge a different unique traits and we learn what symbol means over the time. It is often an image or an action that means more than its exact meaning, such as a dove that is a symbol of peace and heart stands for love. Moreover, red colour represents romance, blood, or even devil.

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