Symbols- What is it? What do they mean to us?

Before taking this class, I took ‘symbols,’ for granted. Of course, I knew what a symbol was from previous studies, but I did not realize the significance of symbols, the benefit of symbols, or what the components of symbols were. The lesson on semiotics in this course came full circle, beginning with an introduction mid-September to revisiting it at the end of November.

We learned in class that the evolution of human language comes from the natural instinct of speech and symbolic systems. Although language is not the only symbolic system, it is certainly one of the most important and complex. Professor Levy had explained the difference between language and speech (langue vs parole). One of the main differences I took away was that language is something that is abstract as it depends on socially shared rules like how words are made and what they mean (which is what makes it symbolic), in comparison to speech that is more specific because it is always situated in a time and place.





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