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What are "codes"?
A code is an organized system of signs. Codes are the rules and conventions about how you combine signs, how signs relate to each other. (Remember that signs can be words or images, but also behaviors, or concepts such as metaphors.)4 x 9 = 36
Language is a code. So is the system of highway signage, the system for classifying plants, computer algorithms, and etiquette.
homo sapiensIn fact codes govern every aspect of our lives: a code structures the way people act in church; how one plays the piano or soccer; when/how/what you eat; how a person gets dressed, makes a phone call, argues with a family member, attracts a mate; ..... on and on.
taking a testIt is amazing how many codes there are in any culture, and that even young children come to understand their intricacies and get upset when they aren't followed.
Humans organize life in nested codes: small codes that fit into larger and larger ones. For example, Alphabet letters are arranged using codes to form words, which are arranged by grammatical codes into sentences, which are arranged by semantic codes into paragraphs, which are arranged by rhetoric codes into essays, which are arranged by performance codes into a presentation.
26 under par
A code provides the frame, the rules for how one understands and behaves in a particular environment. Action chains (culturally defined sequences of actions) are also codes.
Endnote on convention and arbitrary symbols.....
Lewis Carroll gives Alice a glimpse of what conversations would be like without conventional agreement about the meaning of signs (words):
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean --
neither more nor less.'