A Semiotic Analysis of Advertisements in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th Century

Er M.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.100, pp.87-98, 2013 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 100
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-98
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The first examples of advertisements aiming to introduce a product or announce a service were seen in newspapers which were first released in the last periods of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the commercial announcements were released in newspapers in Istanbul because most of the inhabitants and wealth was in the Empires capital city. Announcements and posters also show important information about the period's socio-economic conditions they were released in and reflect the perspective of the capital class and show what habits were tried to be imposed on the target audience. In researches about connotations and ideology of advertisement symbols Roland Barthes comes to the fore. He propounded in his analysis that with the reference to the literal meaning of signs there is an ideology which is transferred by the connotations of the signified and a second dimension metalanguage. With reference to this theory the definition of the symbols in commercial announcements of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century were tried to be discussed in a semiotic way and the periods fashion, different equipment, nutrition, personal care products and automobile advertisements were analysed with their connotations. By taking into consideration the characteristics of the period it can be seen that the symbols in the advertisements were chosen and created after the signification level of the target audience. This shows that only a certain class could take advantage of a product or a service and brings to the fore that cultural parameters are very important in analysing the advertisements.