There are two dominant models of what constitutes a sign. Ferdinand de Sausser offers a dyadic model of a sign while Charles Sanders Pierce offers a triadic model of what constitutes a sign. Sausser argues that a sign is composed of a Signifier and a Signified. The signifier is a sound image (Lecture, Module 2), which can be interpreted as a material form and the signified is the psychological concept, how we perceive the material form. The sign as a whole therefore results from the association of the signifier to the signified. However, Charles Sanders Pierce’s theory of sign differs from Sausser’s. His theory states that the signifying process consists of the representamen, object and interpretant. The representamen is similar to Sausser’s signifier, the form the sign takes. While the object is similar to the signified, which is what the sign stands for. However, Pierce adds a third element, the Interpretant, which is the act of sense making, or the interpretation of a sign (Lecture, Module 2)
Sausser’s theory is dependent on the notion that signs have relationships to other signs while Pierce is more concerned about how individuals determine meaning for a sign. I am more inclined to agree with Pierce’s theory because Sausser’s theory does not encompass the interpretation of a sign instead it confines a sign to being purposely conveyed whereas Pierce’s theory more or less states that in order for something to be a sign it must be interpreted as a sign. I agree with this notion because of its logical perspective. For something to be a sign we have to think or interpret it as a sign, that is how we communicate through thought and interpretation, which is dependent on an individual. If we are unable to think or interpret it as a sign how else would we know it is a sign?