Code (semiotics)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In semiotics, a code is a sets of conventions or sub-codes currently in use to communicate meaning. The most common is one's spoken language, but the term can also be used to refer to any narrative form: consider the color scheme of an image (e.g. red for danger), or the rules of a board game (e.g the military signifiers in chess).

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) emphasised that signs only acquire meaning and value when they are interpreted in relation to each other. He believed that the relationship between the signifier and the signified was arbitrary. Hence, interpreting signs requires familiarity with the sets of conventions or codes currently in use to communicate meaning.

Roman Jakobson (1896–1982) elaborated the idea that the production and interpretation of texts depends on the existence of codes or conventions for communication. Since the meaning of a sign depends on the code within which it is situated, codes provide a framework within which signs make sense (see Semiosis).



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Code (semiotics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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