“[A] sign is something by knowing which we know something more… [A]ll our thought and knowledge is by signs” (Peirce, CP 8.332)
The human history is the history in which we are always making efforts to communicate more efficiently, at the same time, we de-black box the communication procedure and everything that constitutes it to better understand ourselves.
But as Irvine said, “we have to unlearn some things, (re)define words in more precise ways, and learn the vocabulary of the discipline to apply the concepts and learn new things.”, That to be said “In talking about meaning structures as signs, or, rather, sign functions, sign processes, symbolic functions or symbolic activity, we’re not talking about, or modeling problems on, things like street signs, logos, advertising, or everyday things that we often call “signs.” Likewise, by “symbol” we don’t mean the common usage of the term for religious or other cultural signs with some kind of “inner” or “hidden” meaning, or “special characters” like the symbols used in mathematics”
Beyond this, the part that I’m interested in is the “recursive” properties of sign system. “we can always go “meta” and describe what goes on in any system of signs with sets of signs from the same system”
In my understanding, the procedure of human communication, regardless of its form (it could be face to face, text, email, phone call, video etc.), the mechanism of it is the encoding and decoding of the messages that were transmitted via all kinds of mediums. That why metalanguage could be so important.
According to the media richness theory, the face to face would be the most effective way to send to receive information, but even under that kind of circumstances, information inequivalence and misunderstanding seems to be inevitable. Not to mention when we would be using other mediums. That’s why we would keep striving for better affordance in our communication tools. New symbols and meaning systems keep coming up on different media platforms. We have emojis for SNS, we have camera languages like close-up. Then we have a parallel system for us to perceive them. This is the mechanism that maintains the proper flow of information in this society.