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Culture codes and semiotics

Arthur Asa Berger
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


This paper argues that culture can be understood as a collection of codes that people learn as they grow up in a particular society and that these codes have certain attributes that explain their power. I suggest that codes must be coherent, be concrete, be clear, have continuity, and be communicated. I conclude with a discussion of national codes in comedy and offer the example of Japan, where people have different humor codes than in America.

Corresponding author: Arthur Asa Berger, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2021-08-18
Published in Print: 2021-08-26

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