is a translation of a sign to its meaning
, precisely to its literal
meaning, more or less like dictionaries try to define it. Denotation is sometimes contrasted to connotation
, which includes associated
meanings. The denotational meaning of a word is perceived through visible concepts, whereas connotational meaning evokes sensible attitudes towards the phenomena.
, the denotation of a word or phrase
is a part of its meaning
; however, the part referred to varies by context:
In grammar and literary theory, the literal meaning or "dictionary definition" of a term, devoid of emotion, attitude, and color.
In semiotics, the surface or literal meaning of a signifier.
In logic, formal semantics and parts of linguistics, the extension of a term.
In other fields
In computer science, denotational semantics is contrasted with operational semantics.
In media studies terminology, denotation is an example of the first level of analysis: what the audience can visually see on a page. Denotation often refers to something literal, and avoids being a metaphor. Here it is usually coupled with connotation which is the second level of analysis, being what the denotation represents.