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THE SEMIOTICIAN : Elodie Laye Mielczareck


Adept of the “message beneath the message”, as Roland Barthes would say, the semiologist (or semiotician) is above all a language detective. The semiologist sees meaning where others see things (to use the quote), he carefully deciphers and analyzes the signs around him to interpret their Meaning. The semiologist accounts for the effects of meaning, the connotations and the implicits present in communication. It starts from visible signs to  latent meanings. Tough, his interest is most often focused on "marginal" phenomena : at first glance it's not very significant, and taking place behind the scenes, rather than on stage. But it matters. 

What applies to semiotic analysis? All ! Images, logos, websites, gestures, behaviors, words, speeches, symbols, spaces, in short everything that allows Humanity to communicate. On the other hand, semiotic analysis is based on a unique method (and savoir-faire), it cannot be invented: it corresponds to a specific canvas. Like an iceberg, it involves moving from superficial and visible signs to latent signs and meanings.

What semiotic analysis is NOT :

  • a simple description of what we see: if this step is essential, it is only the first step in semioanalysis;

  • a collection of signs, words or themes: semioanalysis goes far beyond the simple collection of themes or keyword clouds! It is about bringing out the underlying structures (and not the “decorum”);

  • a simple tool: the semiotic square. Very popular, and sometimes misused, the semiotic square is only one of the tools in the semiotician's box;

  • a mental ranting : “fuck the flies”, or “string pearls” (you will appreciate the scatological metaphor), that is what the semiologist does not do. The method allows him to avoid falling into over-interpretation, a big trap of semiotic analysis.​


How do you become semiotician ? The semiotician is an expert or specialist in language. It is therefore necessary to have studied Linguistics and Letters to call yourself a semiotician. Most of the time, these are studies at University. Is it because, intrinsically, semiotics de-structures “petty bourgeois ideology” that we do not find it in the “grandes écoles”? Huge question... ​ Each semiologist or semiotician is rather specialized. Some are more focused on luxury, others on mass consumption. For my part, I mainly specialized in “empty” lyrics (bullshit and "langue de bois") and also behavioral dynamics. If you are looking for an analyst (linguist, semanticist, semiologist, semiotician) to help you with words (Purpose, values, verbal identity) or a speaker (about negotiation, communication, or body language), contact me.


Who are the well-known semiologists and semioticians? I would like to give you the names of women but it is mainly men who have made the history of semiology and semiotics. Let us cite Ferdinand de Saussure, founding father of modern Linguistics and Semiology at the beginning of the 20th century. Around the same time, across the Atlantic, Charles Sanders Peirce founded Semiotics, more philosophical in its approach. We will have to wait for Algirdas Julien Greimas for a more applied, even methodological, approach to Semiotics. But let's continue in France, the two leading figures are Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco. The first dared to decipher an advertisement as a piece of art. And all the everyday phenomena of his time (Steak / French fries, wrestling, etc.) The second popularized semiology thanks to his mainstream novels like In the Name of the Rose or Foucault's Pendulum. ​

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