This fourth edition of the bestselling textbook, now available in print, eBook and audiobook, has been fully updated, continuing to provide a concise introduction to the key concepts of semiotics in accessible and jargon-free language.

Demystifying what is a complex, highly interdisciplinary field, key questions covered include: What are signs and codes? What can semiotics teach us about representation and reality? What tools does it offer for analysing texts and cultural practices? The fourth edition of Semiotics: The Basics focuses in particular on its application to communication and cultural studies.

This must-have resource is both the ideal introductory text and an essential reference guide for students at all levels of language and communication, media and cultural studies.


New to this edition


The audience includes students at all levels of language and communication, media and cultural studies, but it extends beyond students to include interested professionals in philosophy in general, and to philosophy of art and philosophy of culture in particular. It will also be of interest to artists, art historians, culture theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, and anyone interested in the relation of mind to reality.

Editorial reviews

Praise for Semiotics: The Basics:

'This is the best introduction to semiotics I have read. Comprehensive, accessible and interesting, it is an invaluable resource for both beginners and more advanced students.' - Guy Cook, University of Reading, UK

‘A very useful book, not only for those who wish to find out about semiotics, but also for those interested in finding out how language or any other sign system is far from being a neutral medium of communication.’ - Juan A. Prieto-Pablos, University of Seville, Spain

‘The book is well written and up-to-date, without unnecessary verbosity or jargon, and yet reflects the complexity of the field and its problems.’ - Journal of Pragmatics

‘It is no small task to present semiotics in a manner that makes it accessible to the beginning student, and Chandler achieves this, describing difficult concepts clearly and thoroughly.’ - Donald J. Cunningham, Indiana University, USA

'Chandler's Semiotics: The Basics is an outstanding introduction to the field for students new to cultural studies. It is an ideal classroom text, and it covers a great deal of ground quickly while avoiding oversimplification or a specific and narrow agenda... There is no better introduction to semiotics anywhere.' - Gregory Eiselein, Kansas State University, USA

‘This book is, at once, highly accessible, extremely interesting, encyclopedic in scope, and authoritative. Highly recommended for all courses involving semiotics and its applications to media, culture and society.’ - Arthur Asa Berger, San Francisco State University, USA

Praise for the fourth edition:

‘Daniel Chandler’s Semiotics is thorough, well organized, and well written. Provocative and informative, its range, depth, and erudition should make it of interest, not only to philosophers and theorists of art, language, and culture, but to anyone interested in the relation of signs to mind and reality and the relation of reality and mind to signs.’ - Jeffrey Strayer, Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA

Author information

Daniel Chandler is an Emeritus faculty member at Aberystwyth University and a consultant in marketing semiotics. He is also the senior compiler of A Dictionary of Media and Communication (3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2020) and A Dictionary of Social Media (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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