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Semiotics: The Basics Paperback – March 8, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0415363754 ISBN-10: 0415363756 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: The Basics
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (March 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415363756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415363754
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'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.' - www.mantex.co.uk

'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.


More About the Author

I lecture on Media and Communication in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University, where I have been based since 1989. My best-known publication is Semiotics: The Basics (Routledge: 1st edn. 2002, 2nd edn. 2007), which has become an international academic bestseller and is set reading for countless university courses. More recently, I co-authored (with Rod Munday) the Dictionary of Media and Communication (Oxford University Press, 2011) of which Professor Laurie Taylor (BBC Radio 4) declared: 'How on Earth have I managed for so long without having such a volume?'.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Parrhesiastes on 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Semih on January 12, 2008
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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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gregory J. Casteel on October 24, 2012
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dmitry Vostokov on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By socraticmethod on March 24, 2013
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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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philip Vassallo on July 1, 2011
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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. To learn semiotics is to open a door to understanding human communication.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KTB on February 15, 2014
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I chose this book because I was interested in learning the basics about semiotics, but came away very disappointed. There is no clear organization in the book and a general lack of clarity. There is also a lot of pointless repetition and an increasingly boring, mind-numbing labeling of concepts as either Peircean or Saussurean, which are little help to the beginner. The author needs to concentrate on effectively communicating the key concepts of semiotics; who originally developed these concepts, though having some significance historically, is secondary at best to this goal.

According to this book, it was initially published online as hypertext. Perhaps that is the reason why this book is so poorly written, it doesn't appear to have been ever properly edited. The author would appear to know a great deal about semiotics, and the parts for a very good book may be here already. Extensive editing and rewriting are required, however, to allow a reader to be able to clearly follow the content and come away with some degree of understanding of the subject matter.
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