LINGUIST List 14.1032

Mon Apr 7 2003

Qs: Semiotics and Consumers

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <foxlinguistlist.org>


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  1. Kris Brijs, Semiotics - Charles W. Morris

Message 1: Semiotics - Charles W. Morris

Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 05:44:09 +0000
From: Kris Brijs <krijs.brijsluc.ac.be>
Subject: Semiotics - Charles W. Morris

Dear colleague,

I am a young scholar working within the field of consumer behaviour,
with a strong interest in semiotics. The question I'm focusing on at
the very moment is: ''What meanings do consumers give to or associate
with a product's country-of-origin?'' Past research within the field
has shown that 'country images' are very rich and complex in
nature. Personally, I make use of in-depth interviews as a narrative
technique in order to get an idea of what comes to the respondents'
minds when they think of a particular country. One of my final
objectives is to structure these meanings and to present them within a
perceptual map. This map then, would represent the consumers'
interpretation of a product's origin. I think Charles W. Morris'
theory of signification/meaning may be a valuable tool to structure
and conceptualize this interpretative map. In his work 'Signs,
language and behavior'(1946), he distinguishes different modes of
signifying among which the descriptive, appraisive and prescriptive
modes of signifying. 2 questions come to mind; the first one is
theoretical, the second is methodological in nature.

1)What does Morris precisely understand by these different modes of
meaning? What is exactly meant by 'descriptive-appraisive-prescriptive
signification'? It would be very helpful if anyone could give me a few
clear examples of 'appraisive, descriptive and prescriptive
signification'? Are there interesting bibliographical references with
regard to these concepts?

2)Since I would like to use Morris' distinction between different
modes of signifying in order to structure the meanings associated with
a product's origin, I wonder how I can determine whether reported
items are a case of descriptive, appraisive or prescriptive modes of
signification. Any suggestions are welcome here.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Kris Brijs
(Limburg University Centre, Belgium) 
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