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Meaning as Sign

1 Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos

Meaning as Sign

Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos VI

Maria Eugenia Oviedo B. Seminar on Language and cultural context

University of QuindĂ­o Faculty of Education Modern language Program

Meaning as Sign

2 Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos

Meaning as sign

In the presentation” meaning as sign” made by Maria del Socorro Forero, Renzo Murillo and Nathaly Arismendi mentions that humans are distinguished from animals by his ability to create symbols used to interact with each other, humans as social beings need to establish ways communication that not all the time may be oral, that is why throughout history humans have created symbols and signs that help generate rules and behaviors through them, the interpretation of this is done by encoding or decoding, while symbols and signs are universal, there are also cultural level which varies its meaning from one culture to another, that is why these symbols can be denotative or connotative, while the concept seems to be clear, the fact that there are turning points following the significant meaning and tells us that it is not as simple to put into practice. The arbitrariness is something that should be taken into account when encoding or decoding of the signs as this can create logical problems, quite serious for the human mind. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a famous German writer, who wrote the literary work, Dr. Faustus, in 1808, part one, here states that a man, to whom science was no longer generating satisfaction, decided to look on religion and the nature of peace and harmony with life, but in his attempt to explain with words to “Gretchen”, who is his lover, finds no knowledge how to do it, if so, as he can not explain what is likely or what he feels, she is equally unable to understand the meaning of spirituality, leading to a total frustration to see that there is a total disconnect between the words, signs and symbols

Meaning as Sign

3 Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos

and their meanings, urging him to commit suicide. Thus we can see how the writer Goethe expresses in his work as the signs and their meanings are important for understanding important aspects of our social life and the need to communicate and express our ideas. Like the previous case, but this already personal experiences and real life is Helen Keler, who wrote “the story of my life�(part I, chapter VI) who at 9 months old, suffered an illness that left her blind, deaf and dumb, and who her teacher Miss Sullivan, will greatly help to communicate despite all its limitations, I think is important to highlight that achievement through the experience unite the words, signs and symbols and their meanings, for this is also important to note that not was an easy task for her, because even though the concept is universal, and there are several ways to relate with images, signs or words regardless of language, for Helen, love was one of the most difficult concepts to associate and it confused her, because she could not relate to anything that she already knew and that only time and experience will teach her that it is not something you can touch, or look, just something that can be felt and can be transmitted through the word love and all expressions that mankind has created in order to know it exists and that although it is not something tangible, it is real. In my personal experience, this issue is largely touched by us every day at work, study and personal life, for example in my daily work I have to associate with people who come to the store to ask about the products many times they do not understand me the word itself if not when the image or product is seen by them, they can understand that I am speaking, thus make an association between the image and its meaning, as in

Meaning as Sign

4 Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos

my family when my son was in the process of learning words and their meanings, things and their names and the relationship between them, as it questions raised in the conversation as they were and so called and how to write and they say so, are questions that make us think that words alone will not say anything unless you can give meaning to help people understand and interpret in the context that is why in my future role as an educator is important to impart knowledge properly, creating awareness of the signs vary from one culture to another and still needs to be as respectable as ours that culture and communication are closely linked one of the another, and that communication is what makes us beings of society and that this communication is governed by codes written or oral, symbols, signs and images that allow us to convey our thoughts, desires, needs and feelings. As a conclusion we can say that humans were born to communicate because we are the only alive being on earth that born with the biological capacity to do it, especially in oral way, and this skill should be acquired or learned, which is why mankind has created different forms of language, whether written, oral, signs or symbols and their meaning ,it depends on the context in which it is applied. and culture made this communication, it is sometimes difficult to understand that is designated words to things, and real relationship between them, and we made questions of why the chair is the right word for the object that we use to sit, and if sit is the right word for that position and so on could question each and every one of the things and his name and meaning that we know.

Meaning as Sign

5 Ana Julieth Giraldo Cubillos


de Saussure,Ferdinad (1857-1913) the linguistic sign

Von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang,” The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus” part I

Keller, Helen “The Story of My Life”, Part I (1880-1968); Edited by John Albert Macy. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1905.

Meaning As Sign  

Essay for the Culture Seminar class

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