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Study of signs and sign-using behaviour, especially in language. In the late 19th and early 20th century the work of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce led to the emergence of semiotics as a method for examining phenomena in different fields, including aesthetics, anthropology, communications, psychology, and semantics. Interest in the structure behind the use of particular signs links semiotics with the methods of structuralism. Saussure's theories are also fundamental to poststructuralism.
Variants of SEMIOTICS
semiotics or semiology
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on semiotics, visit Britannica.com.