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Semiotics: The Basics 2nd Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415363754
ISBN-10: 0415363756
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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.


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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: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David C. Prince 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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joel Kalvesmaki on 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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Semih on January 12, 2008
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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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gregory J. Casteel on October 24, 2012
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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6 of 6 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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