A Semiotic Perspective on the Denotation and Connotation of Colours in the Quran

Mona Al-Shraideh, Ahmad El-Sharif


This study investigates the significance and representation of colours in the Quran from the perspective of meaning and connotation according to the semiotic models of sign interpretation; namely, Saussure’s dyadic approach and Peirce’s triadic model. Such approaches are used to analyze colours from the perspective of cultural semiotics. The study presents both the semantic and cultural semiotics aspects of colour signs in the Quran to demonstrate the various semiotic meanings and interpretations of the six basic colours (white, black, red, green, yellow, and blue). The study reveals that Arabic colour system agrees with colour universals, especially in terms of their categorization and connotations, and that semiotic analysis makes an efficient device for analyzing and interpreting the denotations and connotations of colour signs in the Quran.


Semiotics, Signs, Denotation, Connotation, Colours, Quran

Full Text:



Al-Bzour. Salahaldeen, M. (2015). Connotations of the Straightforward Colours in the Holy Quran: An analytical study. American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 3, 4, 90-102.

Al-Domi. Mohammad, M. (2015). The Connection between the Colors Mentioned in the Holy Quran and its Significance the Green Model. European Scientific Journal, 11, 26, 167-179.

Al-Murazaqa, Najāḥ A. (2010). Allawn wa dlālātuh fy ālqurآan ālkrym. Unpublished MA Thesis, Mu’tah UniverstyJordan.

Amjad, Abdul Aziz, N. (2012). Significance of Colors in the Holy Quran: Artistic Vision, Aesthetic, Moral Goals and Secrets Descriptive Study. Unpublished M.A. Thesis University of Medina International/Malaysia.

Barthes, Roland. (1987). Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang.

Barthes, R. (1977). Image-Music-Text. London: Fontana.

Barthes, R. (1964). Elements of Semiology (trans. Annette Lavers & Colin Smith). London: Jonathan Cape.

Berlin, B. and Kay, P. (1969). Basic Color Terms. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Chandler, D. (2007) [2017]. Semiotics: The Basics. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Darrodi, M. M. (2012). Models of Colour Semiotics. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. University of Leeds.

Eco, U. (1976). A Theory of Semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. [cited in Chandler (2002[2017])

Geeraerts, D. (2010). Theories of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Griffiths, P. (2006). An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Himmod, Z. (2013) .Translating the Connotative Meanings of Colour Expressions in the Glorious Qur'an. Al - Farahidi Magazine, 15, 95-102.

Johansen, J. and Larson, S. (2005). Signs in Use: An Introduction to Semiotics. London and New York: Routledge.

Kenney, K. (2005). Representation Theory. In Smith, K. Handbook of Visual Communications: Theory, Methods and Media, ed. L.E. Associates New Jersey: London.

Khafaji, K. (2012). Symyāyat al’lwān fy ālquran. dār ālmutaqyn lilṯhqāfa wālʿulwm wālṭibāʿa. Beirut Lebanon.

Leech, G. (1981). Semantics-The Study of Meaning. 2nd ed. London: Penguin Books.

Rifa'i, Bahtiar, C. (2010). A Semiotic Analysis on Coca-Cola's Commercial Advertisements. Unpublished PhD Thesis. Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University/ Indonesia.

Saussure, De, F. 1966 [1983]. Course in General Linguistics. Translated by: Roy Harris. London: Duckworth.

Sebeok, Th. (2001). Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Setia et. al. (2009). Semiotic Analysis of a Media Text the Lord of the Rings. Canadian Social Science. 4, 25-31.

Sharpe, Deborah, T. (1974). The Psychology of Color and Design. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

Taha, A. (2012). Ishārāt wa dalālāt āl’lwān fy ālquran ālkarym. Dirāsa Iḥṣā’ya. AlZa’eem Al-Azhari University. Faculty of Computer Sciences and Technology.

Taha D. A., and Abdel-Azim, G. (2012). Navigation of the Holy Quran to Explore the Islamic Chromatic Patterns. Architecture Research, 25, 87-101.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.