A Semiotics of Cartoons in Two Nigerian Newspapers: The Punch and The Guardian

  • Essien-Eyo Ako
  • Blossom Ofem Ottoh


The paper explores the semiotics of cartoons using selected samples from The punch and The Guardian, newspapers based in Nigeria. It seeks to bridge the gap between semiotics and the act of cartooning. It also attempts to show the relationship between the cartoons and the semiotic resources employed. It analyses how the cartoonist have been able to manipulate symbols, signs with the addition of little verbal language to convey specific meaning. It also delves into the socio-cultural milieu of the cartoonist. This paper employed the Peircean model which it considers an appropriate approach to the analysis of cartoon texts. This is based on the fact that unlike the Saussurean dyadic or two-part model, the Peircean approach is triadic in nature and distinguishes the object from the representamen. The study equally examines the metaphorical manipulation of visual elements in the cartoons taking into cognizance such communicative components as: symbols, indexes, and icons. It foregrounds the iconic nature of the cartoon genre by pointing to, and bringing to the fore the semiotic elements deployed. It concludes that cartoons are actually multi-coded such that a sign may appear to one person as symbolic, to another as iconic and to a third as indexical. The implication being that a cartoon text is subject to diverse interpretations, though based on context - the semiotic world invoked by the cartoonist.

LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, 8(3), 79-90, 2011

Author Biographies

Essien-Eyo Ako
Depertment of English, University of Calabar, Nigeria
Blossom Ofem Ottoh
Depertment of English, University of Calabar, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1813-2227