chapter  4
Semiotics and representation
Visual representation and change
Pages 16

The word ‘representation’ is an important term in the study of communication. It is used to distinguish between what is ‘real’ and how such ‘reality’ is presented and labelled. At a simple level we can say that the word ‘book’ is a label for what you are reading now, but it is not the actual thing itself. This means that language is an arbitrary system, in that it is made up of culturally agreed connections between words and meanings. ‘Book’, we agree if speaking English, means an object with pages and words that we read, but there is nothing in the series of letters ‘b o o k’ which says it has to mean this.