Lecture 5: Semiotics of Audio Media and Language


  • Syntext: A text that imparts the illusion of connectivity among what would otherwise be perceived as fragmented random texts by simply synthesizing them in an organized fashion. It’s this text that provides an illusion where things are uniquely connected to other things, where we read them as unique texts
  • At the level of the signifier, newspapers are perceptibly different
  • The Toronto Sun vs. The Globe and Mail: The Toronto Sun provides various news that is different. But using syntext, it creates an illusion that the news is connected. Random news is organized in a synthesize way, producing an illusion of connectivity
  • 19th century British Newspaper: No images in the whole newspaper. All text. This is a very dense style of newspaper, unlike today where we now have images and photos in newspapers. They are now diversified by font change, addition of images and photos pleasing for the viewer


  • Repetition of the firm’s name or of the production in the composition of the ad text
  • The use of compact (dense) phrases set in eye-catching patterns (Ex. Headlines that is easy to read)
  • The use of contrasting font styles and formats along with supporting illustrations
  • The creation of slogans and neologisms designed to highlight some quality of the product (Ex. Vogue magazine implies a technique called textual convergence. It shows that Vogue is a magazine for fashion, with the use of cosmetic products)
  • Textual Convergence: This is a feature whereby the content of the ads and the content of the magazine are made to converge, creating a sense of continuity b/w the products advertised and the articles of the magazine

Canadian Bill of Rights, S.C. 1960, C. 44, S2

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Freedom of the press

BCCSA Code of Conduct (South Africa)

  • The weakness of the BCCSA Code of Conduct in allowing only two options regarding the adjudication of language that is gender discriminately, namely offensive language that can only be considered in relation to the presence of a large number of children or gender based hate speech where there has to be incitement to cause direct harm to be able to seek redress
  • The BCCSA is inconsistent in the interpretation of racist and sexist language in terms of constituting offensive language
  • The BCCSA’s strict focus on material already broadcast. In other words, the damages are potentially already done by the time the BCCSA intervenes

Audio Semiotics and Marketing to Youth

  • Primack, et al. (2012) look at the use and prevalence of alcohol in music videos. T
  • They found that 1/5 popular music songs made explicit reference to alcohol and ¼ specified an alcohol brand, which the target audience then commonly associated (connotated) with a luxury life-style that involved wealth, sex, partying and other drugs
  • Marketers develop a relationship with the world where the youth buy into their advertisements (Ex. In urban marketing, music videos feature famous celebrities and artists which market these products. Music videos become ads, by connecting with brands. Brand message is therefore integrated into music videos, where youth watch and desire those products that artists advertise)
  • Hip-Hop culture has advertised many products for brands to youth through their music videos
  • Youth Media: Cool hunters or merchants of cool
  • Rhyme Pays: Marketing Cool
  • Making products cool in urban society by displaying products in music videos (Ex. Hip-hop selling brand, in which it becomes a lifestyle for these youth who are influenced by celebrities and artists)

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