Semiotics -Paradigms & Sytagms


The description of an object that signifies the meaning.


The choice of individual syntagms depends on what the communicator wants to say. The syntagm is chosen from a group of possible options. The group that they fall into is called a paradigm.

We looked at some advertising from Marlborough, a cigarettes company promoting there products. We first looked at the syntagms, picking out individual items or things about the visual that portrayed the desired feelings and thoughts to the audience.

From the image, I picked out three syntagms:

  • Cowboy style hat
  • Denim Jacket
  • Smoke

I then looked at what paradigms each item falls under:

  • Cowboy hat – Hats/Head-wear
  • Denim Shirt – Shirts/Clothing
  • Smoke – Guilty pleasures

I then looked at how the message of the overall image would change if the sytagms were changed. So for example, the smoke shown in the advert looked quite clean, so if the smoke was changed from white to a darker colour, the connotations would change, and would show a more harmful and unclean product.

If for example I changed the denim shirt to a wife beater, and instead of a hat he wore a balaclava, the whole message of the image would change, and the perception of the advert would be a negative portrayal of the product.




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