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Peppa Pig and Friends

Semiotic Remarks Over Meaning-Making of Some Cartoons Targeted to the Early-Childhood in the Italian Television

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This paper presents the first results of an ongoing semiotic research over TV series targeted to early childhood in Italy. In particular, it focuses on discussing and explaining the great success of the animated series Peppa Pig aired in Italy on the thematic channel Rai YoYo, by comparing it with other series available in the same channel, in the period of its first launch (years 2014–2015). Most of the programs taken into account refers to animals with the purpose of using them as a mean to speak about manhood, in a simplified and appealing way. Nothing new. Fairy tales have always been filled with animals to mean vices and virtues of the humans. Aim of the paper is to reveal the complexity of such reference to animals in Peppa Pig’s stories. This goal will be achieved by comparing it to another series which references to pigs (Olivia the piglet) aired simultaneously in the same Italian network. Moreover, this paper will consider other animals embodying the bouquet of meaning proposals offered by Rai YoYo: a dog (La Pimpa) and some shapeless creatures known as Barbapapas. As a conclusion of such enquire a synthetic model which positions each of the series analyzed will be presented.

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  1. For a reconstruction of the first years of the production, see [26].

  2. It is what in Semiotics is known as semi-symbolism. Semi-symbolic systems are meaningful systems characterized by a correlation between a category of the expression plane and another one of the content plane. For an introduction to the problems involved by this type of significant systems, see entry "semi-symbolic" in [12: 203–206]. From this first proposal of Floch, Semiotics has widely used this concept, see as Refs. [12, 20, 23].

  3. Accessed on Dec 22, 2015. My translation.

  4. For the Italian debate over this issue, see [3, 27, 28].


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Correspondence to Francesco Mangiapane.

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Mangiapane, F. Peppa Pig and Friends. Int J Semiot Law 31, 451–471 (2018).

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