Semantics VS pragmatics PPT

Semiotics is divided into three very important areas in visual communication: syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Lets try to get a deeper understanding of each. According to Lester (2006), syntatics is the study of the ways signs are combined with each other to form complex messages. To make it simpler, syntax is the way signs are organized and formed in order to create an image that conveys a message. Here is an example…

This is one of the latest Louis Vuitton advertisements. This advertisement features a father and daughter spending time together in the great outdoors. The warm colours of yellow and orange with shades of red give us the impression that it is warm, cozy and perhaps even exciting. Their postures make it seem that they feel really relaxed and it also shows how much they are enjoying themselves. Even the natural scenery makes it looks absolutely breathtaking and mesmerizing. All these signs when combined together, tell a story or simply convey a message. This travel advertisement successfully combines all the signs together and with that, they simply make travel look exceedingly desirable.

Now lets have a look at semantics. Semantics is an area of semiotics in which the researchers attempt to determine the significance of signs within and throughout various cultures (Lester, 2006, para.29). From what I can understand, in semantics, the choice of elements (words, musical notes, visual elements, etc) are very much needed in order to create a meaning or understand what the image is all about. It basically deals with what these elements connotes. Here is an example…

So what can we tell about the image? Obviously it’s a photo taken of a beach. But what more can we say about it other than the clear water, green trees and the blue sky? Many thoughts are probably rushing through our heads thinking that this might be a vacation photo of some sort, or it might be a photo of Phuket island in Thailand or it could be a photo taken of a beach before it was polluted. This tells us that by just showing the visual image alone is not enough to get a complete understanding of the whole image itself. As noted by Roland Barthes “The text loads the image, burdening it with a culture, a moral, and imagination”.

Pragmatics is the study of the origin, common uses and communicative effects of signs (Lester, 2006, para.29). This is basically the use of signs in social context to produce and comprehend meanings. Take this as an example.

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