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Semiotic analysis of cultural representations in Iranian English textbooks

Parvin Safari, Mohammad Razagh Pourhashemi

Abstract: The Peircean semiotic approach suggests a non-linear and dynamic view of culture to examine it through signs, sign systems and meaning-making processes. This approach emphasises that images, texts and tasks are considered semiotic resources, generating cultural meanings through semiotic processes. This study aims to reveal the concept of culture in a dynamic manner concerning the semiotic potential embedded in the Iranian EFL textbooks used in junior high schools from the perspective of a semiotic framework. Semiotic analysis showed that cultural meaning-making is directed through guided semiosis, hampering students’ exploration of cultural potential meanings, cultural reflection, understanding and awareness. The denotational and the indexical relationship between texts and images also does not foster students’ intercultural understanding of living and maintaining in a global community, and hence, teachers need to move towards the symbolic aspect of texts and images through unguided semiosis to develop students’ cultural understanding of self and others. Keywords: Cultural, English textbooks, Peircean, semiotic, unguided semiosis;
Keywords: texts / semiotic / unguided / signs / semiosis / textbooks / Peircean / English / Iranian / cultural meanings

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