Keywords: etiquette sign, the signifier and the signified, verbal/ non-verbal etiquette formula, denotative/ connotative/ expressive meanings, ritual


The article deals with etiquette as semiotic formation. Etiquette sign is analyzed as its basic unit. The attention is focused on the two inseparable and interdependent sides of the sign: the signifier and the signified. The sign is considered as having different meanings. It is also outlined the properties of the etiquette sign.

Etiquette sign as a unit of complex sign system, acts as a representative of another object (courtesy, attitude) and is used to transmit certain information to the recipient, who decodes it. The sign operates in the sign situation, provided sufficient cultural competence of communicants. Despite the fact that the signifier of the sign may have several options for the signified or may not be suitable for etiquette situation, success of the sign interpretation depends on the purpose, mood or personal qualities of the addressee. The meanings of the etiquette sign are denotative, connotative and expressive.

The denotative meaning is culturally conditioned. The signifier in different cultures can express something different or opposite, which is evident in the process of intercultural communication. Variation of the signified depends on the cultural identity and the circumstances or context of communication that affects the connotative meaning of the sign.

Expressive meaning of the etiquette sign is defined by addressant’s emotions and suprasegmental coding when he uses a sign in a particular context. The frequency of use of etiquette sign also affects the signified. The high frequency of of the sign use leads to changes in meaning or loss of a certain meaning.

Verbal and nonverbal signs are defined among the types of etiquette signs. The type of modality distinguishes optic, auditory, tactile signs. The complementarity and interchangeability of different (verbal and nonverbal) etiquette signs reveals their important properties. The main properties of the sign are: compactness, intentionality, systemacy and selectivity.

The article states that any sign etiquette situation is associated with the ritual. The degree of obligation of ritual performance depends on the rules adopted in specific areas of communication. Breaking the rules of ceremony is much more social disapproval than breach of etiquette in everyday life


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How to Cite
DEREVIANKO, Y. M. (2017). PECULIARITIES OF ETIQUETTE AS A SIGN SYSTEM. New Philology, (70), 51-58. Retrieved from