In yesterday's post about the name of T-Pain's album (THR33 RINGZ), I referred to the use of the "3's" for the "E's" as semiotic. Because semiotics is not a widely known area of linguistics, I thought I should explain a bit more. Semiotics is the scientific study of signs and their linguistic meaning. It is about the relationship between a sign and what it represents. It is about how people determine the meaning of signs. In semiotics a sign is considered anything (a symbol, an icon, a sound, a picture and so on) that stands for another thing.
With the album THR33 RINGZ, semiotics refers to the use of the use of the number "3" as a symbol for the letter "E". Semiotics also examines the relationship between the "3" and the "E" and what it is about the relationship that allows people to determine the intended meaning of the symbol.