Syntagm Shift reorder the sequence

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Using one object as another.

In semiotics, syntagmatic analysis is analysis of syntax or surface structure (syntagmatic structure) as opposed to paradigms (paradigmatic analysis). This is often achieved using commutation tests.

Syntagmatic means one element selects the other element either to precede it or to follow it. For example, the definitive article “the” selects a noun and not a verb.(wikipedia)

Saussure was ‘concerned exclusively with three sorts of systemic relationships: that between a signifier and a signified; those between a sign and all of the other elements of its system; and those between a sign and the elements which surround it within a concrete signifying instance’ (Silverman 1983, 10).

He emphasized that meaning arises from the differences between signifiers; these differences are of two kinds: syntagmatic (concerning positioning) and paradigmatic (concerning substitution). Saussure called the latter associative relations (Saussure 1983, 121; Saussure 1974, 122). but Roman Jakobson’s term is now used.

The distinction is a key one in structuralist semiotic analysis. These two dimensions are often presented as ‘axes’, where the horizontal axis is the syntagmatic and the vertical axis is the paradigmatic. The plane of the syntagm is that of the combination of ‘this-and-this-and-this’ (as in the sentence, ‘the man cried’) whilst the plane of the paradigm is that of the selection of ‘this-or-this-or-this’ (e.g. the replacement of the last word in the same sentence with ‘died’ or ‘sang’).

Whilst syntagmatic relations are possibilities of combination, paradigmatic relations are functional contrasts – they involve differentiation.

Aber University Media Archive. Available at <>. [Accessed June 2011].

  •     A 4 poster bed as a paperclip
  •     A sparrow as a gun
  •     A nut as a partridge
  •     A poodle as a saboteur
  •     A knife as a spoon
  •     A leg as an arm
  •     A bowling ball as a pet
  •     The floor as a bed
  •     Eating as a way to sing better
  •     Singing as a way to sleep better
  •     Friendship as a tool for curing terrible diseases
  •     A wad of cash as a doorstop
  •     Experimentation as a method for banking
  •     A calculator as a cartoon character
  •     Running as a way to confront phobias
  •     Fighting as a road to peace
  •     Talking as a mode of music
  •     Doing nothing to move an inch