Knowing and guessing: How do 9 year olds approach the meaning of visual signs in weather charts?
Weather charts in the popular media constitute a specific field of semiosis, meaning that they allow procedures of production and transfer of information by means of visual signs which, unlike other semiotic systems, are not firm and standard. The article deals with the ways 9 year old children interpret visual signs appearing on a website for weather predictions. The hypothesis of the research was that in order to interpret these visual signs correctly, the children have to reveal the semiotic system they are part of and then, discover the semiotic principles behind the formation of every sign or group of signs. As visual signs appearing at weather charts may be hypo-icons, indexes or symbols – regarding the relation they have to their dynamic objects – , the children's correct sign interpretation has to be based on the resemblance, the causality or contiguity and the symbolic value of the signs, correspondingly. Visual language is not always transparent and universally understood; therefore, children should be trained into it at school as part of the development of their general visual literacy.