Semiotics: The Basics

Semiotics: The Basics

Semiotics: The Basics

Semiotics: The Basics


This updated second edition provides a clear and concise introduction to the key concepts of semiotics in accessible and jargon-free language. With a revised introduction and glossary, extended index and suggestions for further reading, this new edition provides an increased number of examples including computer and mobile phone technology, television commercials and the web.

Demystifying what is a complex, highly interdisciplinary field, key questions covered include:

  • What is a sign?
  • Which codes do we take for granted?
  • How can semiotics be used in textual analysis?
  • What is a text?

A highly useful, must-have resource, Semiotics: The Basicsis the ideal introductory text for those studying this growing area.


The first version of this book was written in 1994 as an online hypertext document. No comparable introductory text on the subject was available at the time so I rashly attempted to create one which suited my own purposes and those of my media studies students. It was partly a way of advancing and clarifying my own understanding of the subject. Like many other readers driven by a fascination with meaning-making, my forays into semiotics had been frustrated by many of the existing books on the subject which seemed to make it confusing, dull and deeply obscure. So much of what is written about semiotics is written as if to keep out those who are not already ‘members of the club’. This text is intended to be a ‘reader’s companion’ in approaching more difficult semiotic texts, which so often assume knowledge of much of the jargon.

One of the things that attracted me to semiotics was the way in which it supports my own enjoyment of crossing the ‘boundaries’ of academic disciplines, and of making connections between apparently disparate phenomena. However, I am not a polymath, so there . . .

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