A Short Note on Saussure' concept of sign, signifier and signified.


A Short Note on Saussure' concept of sign, signifier and signified.

Ferdinand de Saussure is a Swiss linguist. He is known for his significant work in the field of structural linguistics. His chief contribution is the concept of the sign, signifier, and signified. This concept forms the foundation of semiotics, the study of signs and their meaning. Saussure's ideas have had a profound impact on linguistics.
According to Saussure, a sign is composed of two inseparable components. They are the signifier and the signified. The signifier refers to the physical form of the sign. It can be a sound, a written word, an image, a gesture, or any other sensory stimulus. It is the concrete representation of the sign. The signified is the conceptual or mental content associated with the sign. It represents the meaning or the idea conveyed by the signifier. The signified is not a concrete entity. It is an abstract concept that exists in our minds. It is subjective. It can vary between individuals or cultures.
According to Saussure the relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary and conventional. There is no inherent connection or resemblance between the two. The association between a particular signifier and its corresponding signified is established by social and cultural conventions. Let us take the word 'tree'. This word 'tree' is the signifier. It is the collection of sounds or letters that we use to represent the concept of a tree. The signified in this case is the mental image we have of a tree.
In short, Saussure's concept of the sign, signifier, and signified emphasizes the arbitrary nature of language and signs. This concept provides a theoretical framework for analyzing how signs function within various systems of communication.

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