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Semiotics: The Basics [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Chandler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $25.95 What's this?
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  • Print ISBN-10: 0415363764
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0415363761
  • Edition: 2
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Paperback $24.65  
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Book Description

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 Basics is the ideal introductory text for those studying this growing area.

Editorial Reviews


'A very useful book, not only for those who wish to find out about semiotics, but also for those interested in finding out how language or any other sign system is far from being a neutral means of communication.' - Juan A. Prieto-Pablos, University of Seville, Spain

'The book is well written and up-to-date, without unnecassary verbosity or jargon, and yet reflects the complexity of the field and its problems.' - Journal of Pragmatics 

'This an excellent basic introduction to the subject, with a good glossary, an index, and a list of further reading.' -

'Chandler's Semiotics: The Basics is an outstanding introduction to the field for students new to cultural studies. It is an ideal classroom text, and it covers a great deal of ground quickly while avoiding oversimplification or a specific and narrow agenda... There is no better introduction to semiotics anywhere.'  - Professor Gregory Eiselein, Kansas State University, USA


About the Author

Daniel Chandler is a Lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Product Details

  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 7, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEGSI6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,029 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introductory text on semiotics December 1, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read maybe a dozen books about semiotics and I must say this is the best yet. It is both easy to understand and surprisingly comprehensive given the topic. His book is so good that I bought the second edition of the book when it came out even though its available for free online. My sister is even using this book for as part of the required readings for a graduate level university course she is teaching and I know she isn't the only professor on the faculty to do so.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent narrative; caveats to Kindle users May 15, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
This introduction to semiotics is lucid and compelling. It provides the intelligent reader with a clear analysis of terminology, positions, and developments. Chandler focuses on structuralism, not on poststructuralism, but this is an asset, because it provides the background necessary to understand later thinkers. The other reviews explain well Chandler's strengths.

KINDLE USERS: Some aspects of the book are frustrating. Paragraphs are not indented, the table of contents is not formatted well, and navigation from one chapter to another is not as good as it might be. This book, like many others, shows how unnecessarily indebted the Kindle model is to the print version. Special terms are highlighted, rightly so, but there is no connection between the narrative and the glossary of terms that resides in the back. References are given in author-date format, but no hyperlink is there, to take you to the bibliography. The index retains the original page numbers, which could be helpful for someone writing a paper and getting documentation down. But entries with multiple references do not distinguish between the one or two very important passages and the remaining ancillary discussions. I found a few typographical errors.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any specialized field of study will invariably develop its own distinctive jargon -- its own unique set of terminology that everyone who works within the discipline is expected to understand and use -- which can be confusing to anyone who is on the outside looking in. The use of jargon is essential in any highly technical field, because it makes it possible to communicate complex ideas much more quickly and efficiently than could be done using ordinary language alone. A lot of information can be packed into a single technical term; so, just a few words of jargon can often do the work of an entire sentence -- perhaps even an entire paragraph -- of plain English. Without jargon, the discussion of complex ideas would become practically impossible; and academic scholarship would essentially grind to a halt. So jargon is both necessary and beneficial to any scholarly discipline. But this boon to scholars is the bane of students trying to learn the subject, and of laypeople trying to understand it. The biggest obstacle preventing the average person from understanding the rudiments of any academic discipline has to be the jargon barrier. Breaking through that barrier is essential to the task of education; and, in my opinion, if an educator fails at this task, he or she has failed to educate.

Semiotics is a specialized field of study with its own peculiar jargon. Understanding that jargon is essential to understanding semiotics. The particular jargon used by semioticians is especially difficult for the uninitiated to grasp. That's why breaking through the jargon barrier is the single most important thing that an introductory text on semiotics has to do. Unfortunately, that's the one thing that this otherwise excellent text fails to accomplish, in my opinion.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for starters January 12, 2008
By Semih
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As intended, this is a very good summary of Semiotics and Structuralism. I discovered the book on the Web and decided that it is worth buying it in book format as an excellent reference to keep around. The book seems to contain more information and seems to have gone through some good editing. My only criticism is about its organization -- maybe Mr. Chandler could have thought of a more narrative organization where one concept gives way to the next, although I am very aware that the subject matter is very complex to control.

I firmly believe that these extremely important "diagnostic" and critical approaches of the 20th century will make (and, I think, are making) a come back. I am mostly interested in creation of contemporary dance and theatre and I read about semiotics and structuralism with a very pragmatic, worldly eye. In that respect, I believe that post-Barthes French thinkers diluted the issues towards pure speculation and inapplicable and frequently unintelligible brain gymnastics and denied their methodological aspects for use in linguistics, anthropolgy, film, etc. I have not been able to deduct practical benefits from the critical movements of the past 30 years either.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
In 2008 when writing the first version of this review I admitted that Semiotics was a big gap in my education which mostly lied in natural and computer sciences. I knew less about social sciences and tried to fill various gaps. The reason why I came upon this discipline is that I'm interested in signs and their interpretations, especially their relation to various structures. I started reading this book in September, 2008. As a by-product of reading I was able to provide the kind of a theoretical explanation for the phenomenon of bugtations. Now after more than 3 years of intermittent reading I finally finished this book. In the mean time I was able to apply Semiotics to memory dump and software trace analysis (Memiotics) and now I also use it in connection with Software Narratology (an application of literary narratology to software narratives such as traces and event logs). What is also good about this book in addition to clearly explained concepts is a very good closing chapter summarising the whole book and the field, extensive reading guide, summary of leading schools, and a very good glossary. There is also an online book with extra materials.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The defenitive primer on Semiotics!!!
An excellent resource for semiotics. The concepts are clearly explained (which is remarkable considering the subject matter, whose key thinkers seemed to relish confusing jargon). Read more
Published 2 months ago by Boardgamer, PHD
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Intro to Semiotics
Great basic to semiotics--but, even an intro to semiotics is pretty dense for students. But, this is one of the most accessible books on the market--so I highly recommend it.
Published 2 months ago by Fortheloveofjack
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written
I chose this book because I was interested in learning the basics about semiotics, but came away very disappointed. Read more
Published 14 months ago by KTB
3.0 out of 5 stars HUH
This book is tedious and for a book to cover visual communication it consists of pages upon pages of text with out many visual samples. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rudy Gardea
5.0 out of 5 stars The effecting science of Semiotics
This book provides pertinent, yet readable information on the fascinating topic of semiotics. He explains, by employing various theories the fundamentals of Semiotics. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jennifer Polk
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Condition
Book arrived quickly and in great condition. I bought this book for a course and ended up dropping the course, but it seems like an easy enough read for a rainy day.
Published on April 18, 2013 by sbarn013
5.0 out of 5 stars Semiotics: The Basics
Complicated subject matter brought "down" to a level I believe anyone can grasp (especially if I can) making it a fantastic read on a fascinating subject.
Published on March 24, 2013 by socraticmethod
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview
This book provides an excellent overview to the subject of semiotics. Chandler manages to bring this very large and disparate field togfether in one well-written book. Read more
Published on March 3, 2013 by Michael Raisanen
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and insightful
Being new to the study of semiotics, I've found Chandler's text to be essential in understanding basic concepts, crucial divergences in models, and best of all, a great launching... Read more
Published on May 10, 2012 by Walter Ullon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Semiotics Source Book
This book is an exceptional primer on the study of signs, which was popularized by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Read more
Published on July 1, 2011 by Philip Vassallo
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