Commercial Shop Signs in Mafraq City: a Cognitive Semiotic Perspective


  • Baseel Al Bzour AABU
  • Rabeaa Al-khazalleh AABU, Mafraq, Jordan



Key words: cognitive semiotics, commercial shop signs, connotation, denotation, Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure.




Drawing cognitive semiotic premises, this study aims to investigate the impact of visual images and verbal expressions. used in commercial shop signs in Mafraq city in Jordan, on clients and to show how such shop signs semiotically behave in accordance with their sociocultural contex. Therefore, the researchers investigate the procedures and the mechanism of designing and using these signs in light of the fundamental assumptions of semiotic models of sign interpretation; namely, Ferdinand de Saussure's dyadic approach and Charles Pierce's triadic models with relevance to connotative and denotative meaning dichotomy proposed by Barthe (1987). The data of the study were collected representing 200 shop signs selected from four main shopping streets in Mafraq city, in addition to some interviews with shop owners. Findings revealed that Arabic and English are widely used and purposefully distributed in these shop signs, the content of which includes religious names, family names, geographical places, planets, animals, etc. Furthermore, this study revealed how the visual and verbal signs employed by these shop owners convey two basic levels of meaning, i.e. the denotatively literal meaning and the connotatively non-literal meaning. Consequently, the researchers concluded that through the signs of these shops how Jordanian society is  tribally-oriented and how Jordanians are proud of their family names for various socio-cultural motivations. The results the researchers found showed that the shop owner's educational and economical levels, religion, nationality, beliefs, gender, values, social and cultural factors do affect their choices while naming their shops. Finally, conclusions have been set and recommendations have been provided for relevant future research.


Key words: cognitive semiotics, commercial shop signs, connotation, denotation, Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure.



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