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01736--code

Code is a shared set of rules or conventions by which signs can be combined to permit a message to be communicated from one person to another; it may consist of a language in the normal sense (e.g. English, Urdu) or of a smaller-scale 'language' such as the set of hand-signals, horns, grimaces, and flashing lights used by motorists. The code is one of the six essential elements in Roman Jakobson's influential theory of communication, and has an important place in  structuralist theories, which stress the extent to which messages (including literary works) call upon already coded meanings rather than fresh revelations of raw reality. An important work in this connection is Roland Barthes's S/Z (1970), in which a story by Balzac is broken down into five codes, ranging from the 'hermeneutic code' (which sets up a mystery and delays its solution) to the 'cultural code' (which refers to accepted prejudices, stereotypes, and values). 

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