Signified and signifier  

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Ferdinand de Saussure theorized that a sign has two parts: signifier and signified. The signifier is the form that the sign will take, whether it be a sound or image and the signified is the meaning that is conveyed.


Signifier: the word 'tree' = Signified: the mental image of a tree.

Charles Sanders Peirce analyzed sign systems and came up with the following: An icon signifies by resemblance. An Indexical sign signifies by causal connection and finally, a symbol signifies by learned convention.

See also

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