A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

The Semiotic System of Tattoos

Issue 23
The Semiotic System of Tattoos

Many scholars have been interested in studying the dimensions of the semiotic system of old and new tattoos. A tattoo has social, physiological and aesthetic impacts.

Scholars believe tattoos are a means of communication that includes
symbolic signs. Some psychologists believe a tattoo reflects a turbulent personality that struggles with verbal communication. Tattoos convey messages that can consist of words, phrases, icons, shapes or images with symbolic value. The receiver interprets the message based on his education and knowledge.
According to linguistics, the four components of communication are speaker, receiver, pace, and time. Tattoos’ components have a direct influence on communication; the person with the tattoo represents the speaker sending a semiotic message to the receiver; this message concerns the tattooed person’s identity and relationship to others.
The body itself has a semiotic value associated with the existence of the individual in space, so a tattoo adds another symbolic value.

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