DENOTATION AND CONNOTATION
are two of the most important in semiotics analysis(although they are not exclusive to semiotics). Roughly speaking, denotation and connotationrefer to the first and second levels of meaning in a sign. The term denotation refers to the literalmeaning of a sign; to what is ³objectively´ present and easily recognized or indentified.Connotation is a term used to refer to meanings which lie beyond denotation but are dependenton it. In Elements of Semiology, Roland Barthes says ³the first system (denotation) becomes the plane of expression or signifier of the second system (connotation)«. The signifiers of connotation« are made up of signs (signifiers and signifieds united) of the denoted system´.While the distinction between literal and figurative language operates at the level of the
,that between denotation and connotation operates at the level of the
. We all know that beyond its ³literal´ meaning (its denotation), a particular word may have connotations: for instance, sexual connotations. In semiotics, denotation and connotation are terms describing therelationship between the signifier and its signified, and an analytic distinction is made betweentwo types of signifieds: a denotative signified and a connotative signified. Meaning includes both, denotation and connotation. For the art historian Erwin Panofsky, the denotation of arepresentational visual image is what all viewers from any culture and at any time wouldrecognize the image as depicting (Panofsky 1970, 51-3).
tends to be described as the definitional, literal, obvious or common-sense meaningof a sign. In the case of linguistic signs, the denotative meaning is what the dictionary attempts to provide.The term
is used to refer to the socio-cultural and ³personal´ associations(ideological, emotional, etc.) of the sign. These are typically related to the interpreter`s class,