Writing: Semiotic Signposts For Inspiration

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Semiotics is an invaluable writers tool. What we write and the way we write it will create impressions on the reader. In turn, the reader has independence to extract personal meaning and relationship with the author. Written words are signposts to a bigger picture. Before we begin to write, contemplation of the work ahead guides us to consider language and imagery that is decipherable to the reader. In order to accomplish this, our words need to convey meaning, and stimulate a rapport.

Language, linguistics, and the written word are powerful tools, enabling us to weild influence over others. After a bedtime book reading, a child drifts happily to sleep, dreaming of angels and hobgoblins of fairyland. At the other semiotic extreme, violent revolutionaries are swept up in psychotic fervor at the literary whim of a maniacal leader.

Song writing is a powerful form of mediated semiotics. Lyric combined with music creates imagery much greater than the individual musical components could. A sweeping ballad with music removed may otherwise be lyrically weak. Words removed from a song may reveal a composition rather repetetive. The chemistry of a band may produce musical results surprising even to its own members. A novelist encounters the same phenomenon in working with expert editors, proof readers, and publishers.

Communication is important to all of us. Two people of different language backgrounds can still communicate adequately if they are semiotically adept. Such persons seem to have a ‘universal personality’ with semiotics bridging the cultural divide. When confronted with a foreign situation such people ajust and fit in, providing worthwhile input in discussion or relationship. There are others, the semiotically deficient, who after living for decades in a foreign country, are still unable to adapt to new language and impressions.

We view our world, and communicate to greater or lesser degrees, aided by semiotics, which encompasses image, gesture, sound, and objects. Semiotics is concerned with anything that can be taken as a sign. In fact, every thought can be a sign. Semiotics in art crosses the boundary of genre, and investigates connotative meaning. The powerful pull of advertising indicates the power of semiotics in the manipulation of consumers. The increased use of imagery: real, animated, or computer generated, adds to the message. When misused, semiotics will leave the viewer/reader as dry as a dog biscuit. Overindulgence becomes semiotics eating itself to death.

Semiotics can also create the opposite of the desired effect if used wrongly. For example, the goal of the political left-wing may become jumbled by using the language of the opposing world view. We often note that left-wing origins of the politically correct are hijacked by mainstream media and political manipulators. Therefore, the politically correct become the new right-wing thought police. Media plays a huge role in semiotic manipulation. In the name  of stressing the underlying patriarchal hegemony, media, enforced by political correctness, has been for decades slowly dismantling societal norms. 


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