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Denotation and Connotation

What does it all mean?

• Denotation is simply a description of what can be seen. • On the next slide is a very common image seen by millions of people around the world every day. • Now write the title ‘Denotation and Connotation’ in your exercise books. • In your exercise books, write a description of exactly what you can see.


.What was your denotation? • Did you write. A: ‘It’s the sign for the men’s toilets’ or B: ‘It’s a black stick figure of a man on a white background? • If you wrote something like B then you have ‘denoted’ the image correctly.

Let’s try that again! • On the next slide is another image seen by millions of people around the world each day. . • In your exercise books write a denotation of the image. Bear in mind the denotation of the previous image.


How did that go? • Let’s have some denotations from the class. How many have managed to say what they could see without saying what it represents? . • Listen to your classmates descriptions.

• Connotation is what an image suggests. • The next step is to discuss connotation. . • Now try it with the following image.Connotation • So you should now have a good idea of what denotation is. In your exercise books write down what the next symbol suggests.


And your answer is? • This should have been relatively simple. ‘It suggests there is a women’s toilet nearby’ then you are correct. • If you have written something like. .

• If we understand an image’s connotations then we can understand why it has been chosen. . • It is important for us to understand what they are supposed to mean.Why does this matter to Media Studies? • In Media Studies we deal with images all the time.

• As a class. . discuss the connotations of each slide using the prompts to guide you.And now? • Over the course of the next few slides are a series of images with prompts.

Darth Vader • One of movies’ most infamous villains. • What is the colour of his costume and what are its connotations? .

• What does the colour of Leia’s outfit suggest? What are its connotations? .Princess Leia • One of movies’ most iconic heroines.

Princess Leia • Now look at Leia’s pose. This is known as the ‘mode of address’. • What are the connotations of the way Leia is standing and looking? What does it suggest about her character? .

Over to you! • In groups of 3 or 4 look at the next slide and the four images on it. • In your exercise books come up with a denotation for each image and then a list of possible connotations. . • Prepare to discuss your findings with the rest of the class.

What does it all mean? .

So? • What did the colour red suggest to you? • What does this famous insignia stand for? .

And? • What does this iconic shield stand for? • What do these buildings represent? .

Finally • Your last task for today. Copy these definitions into your exercise book. . • Connotation: A meaning suggested by an image or idea. • Denotation: A description of an image or idea.

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