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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:10 pm

• articulate •

Pronunciation: ahr-tik-yê-lêt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Well-spoken, having the gift of excellent speech, the ability to speak or write well; well-spoken or well-written. 2. Clearly delineated, as 'an articulate historical period'. 3. [Anatomy] Jointed, having joints, as 'an articulate insect'.

Notes: This word is one of those words ending on -ate that can be an adjective or verb depending on how the final syllable is pronounced. The vowel in that syllable is reduced to [ê] in the adjective, but in the verb it is pronounced [ay]: [ahr-tik-yê-layt], as to clearly articulate a policy, i.e. lay out the details of it precisely. The adjective offers an adverb, articulately, and the verb, a noun, articulation.

In Play: A good example of articulate speech is the past US president: "Most Americans miss the articulate and uplifting speech of our previous president amidst the tsunami of tweets from the present one." The second, original meaning is used mostly in the science of biology: "Most insects have articulate legs."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from articulatus "jointed", the past participle of articulare "to divide into joints". This verb comes from articulus "small joint, article", a diminutive of artus "joint". This word was borrowed from Greek arthron "joint, article". You can see the root of this word in arthritis, the joint inflammation, and arthrosis, a degenerative joint disease. The original semantic implication is that articulated speech or writing has clear points connected in a clear manner. The word article began its life referring to an articulated part of a larger document, as 'an article in a contract or law'. This meaning easily migrated to a separate piece in a newspaper, journal, or other publication with distinct but connected parts.
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Re: Articulate

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:51 pm

Listen to any speech of our previous president and you'll see his
inability to pronounce the word "to". It always comes out as
"tuh". Don't call him articulate with this inarticulate pronunciation.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Articulate

Postby George Kovac » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:49 am


Your observation is accurate, and I have noted that particular verbal tic to my friends over the years.

But I would not call the pronunciation inarticulate. It is a shift in the language that is more widespread, though Mr. Obama is older than the vanguard in this change. I, too, find it curious he consistently uses that pronunciation.

“Tuh” (which has been used as a regional variation in some parts for a long time—and was formerly considered “non-standard”) in now a common and accepted millennial pronunciation. There are a few other examples that come to mind, like “verse” for “versus” as in “This Monday night’s game is the Bears vs. Green Bay.” Folks under 35 who say “tuh” are also likely to pronounce “vs.” as “verse.” In both "tuh" and "verse", the usage is not an educational, regional or class distinction—it is generational. That is how pronunciation evolves, and the underlying reasons are beyond a satisfactory explanation. Scholars are still trying to figure out why something like the “Great Vowel Shift” of the fifteenth century would happen.

A more jarring change in millennial speech patterns is in etiquette and case, not in pronunciation: When I was young, I was taught that when describing a group of people that includes yourself, the speaker is listed last and you must use the correct case. Thus: “Christopher and I went to Starbucks for a vente latte.” That is soooo twentieth century. Today a millennial, even a highly articulate one, is more likely to say, “Me and Topher went to Voyager Espresso for a flat white.”

There are other shifts of pronunciation that seem more intentional and perhaps unrelated to generational shift, i.e., we can’t blame it on the millennials. For example, years ago “data” was always pronounced DAY tuh. Now you are just as likely to hear a short vowel in the first syllable: DA tuh. Less common, but still creeping into American usage, is a shift to a British-ish pronunciation of “divisive” by changing the middle vowel from long to short: di VIS iv instead of the traditional di VIE siv.

All this is language in motion, not a disregard for articulation.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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Re: Articulate

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:32 pm

I suppose, but I find it extremely abrasive to my ears.
You obviously know more about it than I do, I merely
taught high school English with an education from the
60's and 70's. Language evolves, I know, but I'll never
listen to Obama speak, when he comes on the news
I mute the TV because of this irritation. It's like fingernails
on a chalkboard.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Articulate

Postby call_copse » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:26 am

Well put George, thanks.

“Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart —you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

Inarticulacy is a feature not a bug here. By forcing the audience to focus hard to understand what is happening they ascribe greater worth to the understanding. That's my feeling anyhow. That plus avoiding the traditional politicians equivocation, whilst riding the currents of anger, seem to be the current defining features

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Re: Articulate

Postby say_wha » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:52 pm

Perhaps, Jiminy Cricket was the first articulate articulate.

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