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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 1, 2012

Language of Cinema and Semiotic Modelling

Katre Päirn
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


The founder of semiotics of cinema, Christian Metz set as the aim of his project to go to the bottom of the metaphor of language that had been used widely for describing cinema in film theory, yet without taking into account the knowledge about language that had accumulated in linguistics. Thus the goal of early semiotics of cinema was to go beyond figural analogy and bring together the two domains of knowledge; knowledge about cinema and knowledge about language. The development of metaphor of language of cinema into semiotic model of language of cinema sheds light to semiotic modelling as methodological tool. Firstly the metaphor of language of cinema itself- either pre-theoretical or theoretical-can be seen as an attempt to make sense of novel phenomena through analogy with something already familiar. This stage resulted in ontological theories of language of cinema. Refining this rough analogy into the object of study meant acknowledging the difference between cinema as experienced and cinema as object of knowledge, arriving thereby at methodological theories of cinema that use semiotic modelling as a means for constructing the object of study.

Published Online: 2012-6-1
Published in Print: 2012-6-1

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