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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview
This second edition of an academic bestseller provides an exemplary overview of semiotics including background information and an excellent breakdown of terms used, whilst still providing an indepth study: so its not just 'The Basics'.
While many academic books on semiotics are filled with incomprehensible jargon this one is clearly written with the student in mind...
Published on 16 Dec 2009 by EV

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic?
If this is basic I'd hate to read the advanced version or maybe that just reflects the nature of the subject. I'm working through slowly and it's certainly a useful book. Perhaps more of an overview at the start would have eased the way in.
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by Amazon Customer


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview, 16 Dec 2009
This review is from: Semiotics: The Basics (Paperback)
This second edition of an academic bestseller provides an exemplary overview of semiotics including background information and an excellent breakdown of terms used, whilst still providing an indepth study: so its not just 'The Basics'.
While many academic books on semiotics are filled with incomprehensible jargon this one is clearly written with the student in mind and complimented my undergraduate study no end.

Assuming no prior knowledge the book defines the study of semiotics, models of the sign, structures, and the interaction between signs in an accessible and clear manner. This book is ideal for dipping into to supplement knowledge or to form extremely solid foundations for further excursions into semiotics.
Of particular help is the glossary (which I've used far from a semiotic context), and Chapter 7: 'Prospect and Retrospect', which is excellent for generating thought around the topic.

As well as conveying extremely complicated concepts clearly and concisely the book is structured to compliment progressive learning: meaning that for most students the information they seek is clearly labelled (so you don't have to read the entire book when you write that last minute paper you `forgot' about).

This book is indispensable to many students of media and communications, an excellent buy, well structured, and insightful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading if you need to understand semiotics, 27 Feb 2012
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Most people when I say I'm taking a course in semiotics look at me blankly, because they haven't got a clue what semiotics is. And neither did I even after several lessons! Why take the course I hear you ask? Well after reading Chandler's Semiotics The Basics (and using the online version) I can say that the book helped me. I now enjoy the course and I'm writing a semiotics paper... If I get a terrible grade I'll post again.
Look up Chandler Semiotics on any search engine and you will probably find an online version of this book. But after buying and reading this new updated version on my Kindle I would say that this version is much better.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars semiotics with everything, 23 Jan 2011
This review is from: Semiotics: The Basics (Paperback)
This book has been a superb guide for me over several years of studying and essay writing. It is my first port of call when I need to find out about a topic or refresh my knowledge of a topic. I love its level of intelligence and depth of knowledge. Just great!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic?, 23 Jan 2012
This review is from: Semiotics: The Basics (Paperback)
If this is basic I'd hate to read the advanced version or maybe that just reflects the nature of the subject. I'm working through slowly and it's certainly a useful book. Perhaps more of an overview at the start would have eased the way in.
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14 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thorough, but not the casual read it's packaged to be, 19 Oct 2009
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J. Sekimori (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Semiotics: The Basics (Paperback)
'Linguistics: The Basics' by R.L. Trusk was a real pleasure to read. It gave everything it promised, a jargon-free and accessible introduction into the discipline of linguistics, and its jovial tone ("What's most astonishing is..."; "I can't wait to tell you about...") made it such a pleasure to read.

'Semiotics: The Basics' which I bought on the strength of the above, is an incomparable primer that frankly shouldn't have been published in the same bracket. Where Trusk's writing was at once warmly conversational and methodically informative, Chandler's is icily academic and dense. Trusk would excitedly explain to his readers why the study of linguistics is fascinating, whereas Chandler takes our interest in semiotics for granted and presumes readers have at least some grounding in literary theory. In his defence, anyone who's motivated to buy a book specifically on semiotics probably has had a bit of experience in related disciplines and maybe it's unfair to compare Chandler's readership to Trusk's- but then why package the book in the same way?

The promise that this book is 'jargon-free' is frankly rubbish, and whether or not it is 'accessible' is debatable. Semiotics is a niche discipline that is formally represented in only a handful of universities worldwide, and deals in subtle notions which require a degree of mental agility (and patience) to appreciate. Whilst it has had its fair share of charismatic supporters, especially in the last fifty years or so, its critics call it pompous and accuse its followers of talking big and meaning little. This book takes a neutral stance (unlike Trusk who quite animatedly evangelises linguistics) towards the subject, inviting readers to make up their own minds.

So Chandler is careful to avoid generalisations and scrupulously references everything. He is reserved with his own opinions in this book, vulnerable as the discipline is to criticism, and talks almost exclusively in citations. His approach is to present us with a broad cross-section of opinions, and rather dauntingly it's up to us to make sense of them and piece them together. Here's the evidence, now you work it out. The problem is that in his spartan effort to present us with as much unbiased information as possible to a page limit appropriate for the edition, some of his citations lack clarity. Often he'll let them speak for themselves (in verbose block quotes), and when he does offer up his commentary it's usually rather officious, and as trying to follow as the original citations.

Don't get me wrong, it was all very interesting and challenging, but it's just so dense and verbose in a way that I think could and should have been avoided. For a primer in the same series as Trusk's, I feel Chandler could have quoted less, summarised more, and been more enthusiastic about his field in a way that would entice the layman. It's information-rich and unpatronising in a way that will no doubt appeal to academic types, but it's strictly a volume that has to be studied, and if you pounded through Trusk's linguistics introduction and expected more of the same from this, you've been misled.
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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whitewash, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Semiotics: The Basics (Paperback)
If you need help reading roadsigns then this is the book for you. Faddish, modish, empty vacuous prose for faddish, modish vacuous people.
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Semiotics: The Basics by Daniel Chandler (Paperback - 9 Jan 2007)
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