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semiotics

Semiotics [Greek sema, a mark, a sign] is the general science of signs (for example, language signs) and their use. According to Morris (1938, 1946), semiotics consists of three approaches: (1) the syntactic approach, which concerns itself with the relationship between sign and sign - for example, the relationship between words, sentence structure, etc. (syntax); (2) the semantic approach, which concerns itself with the relationship between a person's name and the person himself or herself (semantics); and (3) the pragmatic approach, which investigates the relationship between a sign, its sender, and the receiver of the sign (pragmatics).
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Definition extracted with permission from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)