How The Monosemic Graphics Go Polysemic

  • Jan Ketil Rod Department of Geomatics Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Keywords: symbolization, semiotics, monosemic, polysemic,


This paper is a reflection on the semiological tradition after Saussure. The focus here is cartographic. In 1967 Jacques Bertin presented the semiology of graphics, which has had an extensive influence on cartography. Bertin claimed graphics (diagrams, networks and maps) to be a monosemic sign system because graphics transcribe relationships that are previously defined in a data table. This premise is critically revisited regarding maps, resulting in the conclusion that diagrams and networks might be monosemic representations while statistical maps cannot. Polysemy is introduced in statistical mapping because the plan possesses influencing properties on the transcribed meaning, which are not a priori defined in the data table.
How to Cite
Rod, J. K. (2001). How The Monosemic Graphics Go Polysemic. Cartographic Perspectives, (38), 7-18.
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