These are pretty easy to understand but to create them is the difficult part. Paradigms are the big groups of ideas from which you can take one item, the Syntagms being the items that you select from the paradigm. This might be one word from all the languages available to us like, one lego brick from the box of bricks, one t-shirt from the drawer of tops, one colour from the paint palette or one book from the library.

The point is that when we communicate we make choices from a selection of other choices oh which word (image, clothing etc.) to select. The words we choose each have a special value and specific, contextual meaning.

We done an exercise in changing well known sentences around with different syntagms in them from the specific paradigms.


Here I am going to identify both the Paradigms and Syntagms within this advert of MarlboroMan.

Screenshot 2015-11-26 17.53.01.png


  1. Activity
  2. Place
  3. Clothing
  4. Headwear
  5. Facial features
  6. Age
  7. Colours
  8. View point
  9. Impression
  10. Gender


  1. Smoking
  2. Western
  3. Denim jacket
  4. White cowboy hat
  5. Moustache and a few wrinkles
  6. 40’s
  7. Light colours
  8. Close up
  9. Smooth, Laid-back
  10. Male

We then went on to what would happen if you changed one of these syntagms? I thought if you changed it to a young good looking woman that may increase both genders to the target audience, men may find it more attractive when a girl also smokes and maybe women would feel the urge to smoke to attract men to them, this can work both way rounds, not being sexist! Or maybe if they changed the smoke colour to black that would change the meaning completely as if to say that smoking is incredibly bad for you, which it is!

We also looked at who this advert was aimed at, I believed that it would come a cross to people who already smoke more than non smokers as its telling people to go and smoke these cool brand of cigarettes known as Marlboro’s.

From looking into this theory I have learned that changing anything within a piece of media even if it’s the smallest thing it could completely change the meaning of the message it’s trying to give out. Therefore this will help me choose certain content for my work in the future.