Key Concept Research – Media Language

What does Media Language mean?

The term media language simply refers the ways in which the text presented is comunicating meaning, and through the ways in which the meaning is made using the typical conventions of the particular medium and particular media product. Some of these conventions include:

  • The elements of semiotics
  • genre
  • narrative
  • codes and conventions
  • aesthetics
  • spoken written and visual language

The Elements of Semiotics

The term ‘semiotics’ refers to the system of signs within a text.

Umberto Eco, who states that ‘semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign’. Semiotics involves the study not only of what we refer to as ‘signs’ in everyday speech, but of anything which ‘stands for’ something else. For example, forms of words, images, sounds, gestures and objects.

  • semantics: the relationship of signs to what they stand for;
  • syntactics (or syntax): the formal or structural relations between signs;
  • pragmatics: the relation of signs to interpreters
  • Semiotics are often applied to the analysis of texts, and it is documented that text can exist in any medium, and this could be either, verbal, non verbal, or both.

    The term text usually refers to a message which has been recorded in some way (e.g. writing, audio- and video-recording) so that it is physically independent of its sender or receiver. A text is an assemblage of signs (such as words, images, sounds and/or gestures) constructed (and interpreted) with reference to the conventions associated with a genre and in a particular medium of communication.

    Codes and Conventions

    Codes and Conventions play a key role in determining the way in which a text is interpreted by its audience.

    It is based upon the familiar and predictable forms and techniques used by texts to communicate certain ideas or to convey desired impressions. In regards to technical codes, this includes camera angles, sound, and lighting. Symbolic codes include the language, dress, and actions of characters.

    The codes and conventions in media can be separated into 3 distinct groups –
    – Technical (camera techniques & shots),
    – Symbolic (ie clothing, colours)
    – Written and audio (music etc). – Useful link to some detailed information regarding codes and conventions.

    A prime example of where this element is implemented is through the genre of horror/thriller. For example, the trailers below indicate how music and sound effects are commonly used to portray fear and tension. Alongside this, a repeated amount of dissolves, and dark lighting are applied to create the mysterious and suspicious atmosphere. Within horror films, the audience becomes very aware that when a scene is opened in silience, the build up of this silience will consequence in a loud bang or something that is going to frighten them; although this technique is repeatedly used in a lot of horrors, the tension it creates is still present and is still very psychologically challenging. These are just a few examples of the conventional codes and conventions implemented within films/trailers.

    During the Drag Me to Hell trailer, at point 1.07 it is made evident that the silient build up has been applied to conform with the codes and conventions.


    This code and convention is again, similarly applied just 0.37seconds into The Grudge trailer.


    When discussing the ‘aesthetics’ of a text, it simply concerns the audiences response and concern of the text. Aethetics, involves all of an audiences senses – vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell and emotions.

    There are many different things that contribute to your overall perception of a product, and to your opinion as to whether it is aesthetically pleasing to you.
    Vision Hearing Touch Taste Smell
    Visual weight
    Ease of use
    Your opinion about a product may also be influenced by certain associations that are important to you, such as:

    • how fashionable it is
    • whether it is a novelty, or an old favourite
    • whether it is a symbol of wealth or love
    • how much danger or risk is involved
    • if it provides a link with your past – Table above.


    1 Comment (+add yours?)

    1. Abrham Zebene
      Nov 25, 2011 @ 11:24:25

      It helps me on my research thank u


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