2. Symbolic Codes
A symbol is an image that has come to represent something else, e.g., a cross on a
building represents that it is a church.
Or a heart is usually known to symbolise love.
Another example is hoodies, which have now become a symbolic code due to the
repeated use in news programmes and newspapers the hoodie has now become a
symbol of criminal youth or rebels
3. Semantic Codes
Parts of a media product that we understand have a hidden meaning
E.g., in a horror movie there’s usually a lot of the colour red and black, because we
understand that these colours signify death, danger, darkness etc. (Red and black
have become a semantic code for death and blood)
Also, for example in an advert if a woman was to be happily hugging the main
product, this would act as a semantic code to tell the audience that she loves this
product and it’s great, and you will also definitely love it too.
4. Proairetic/Action Codes
These are the elements of media products that signify that something is going to
happen as a result
E.g., someone pulling out a gun in a clip, would be a proairetic code that would
signify he is going to shoot somebody or something like conflict is going to take
place where that gun isis going to be used
Or a picture of someone with their head in the hands is a proairetic code that
signifies that this person either has or will realise that they’ve made a mistake and
also signifies something is going to happen as a result e.g., a disaster.
5. Hermeneutic/Enigma Codes
Enigma means mystery, any mysterious part of a media text that will engage or
hook in the audience in some way, making them want to carry on with the
newspaper or advert or film etc.
E.g., on the front paper of a newspaper with a engaging headline, if there is a small
text at the bottom saying “ if you want to find out what this means turn to page …”
this is an example of a hermeneutic code because it makes the audience or reader
what to find out, leading to them carrying on.
So you need to be able to look at your set text and identify any hermeneutic
codes or element of mystery that will hook the audience in or make them want to
continue to read or watch on.
6. Cultural/Referential Codes
Parts of a media product that you can only really understand if you’re part of that
culture e.g., that ethnicity, country, nationality, age group or even historical time
People who come from outside culture will most likely not understand that