articulate - adjective
1. having parts connected by joints, as in "articulated"
2. made up of distinct words joined together in such a way as to convey meaning
3. able to express oneself clearly and distinctly
4. well formulated, clearly presented

Friday, October 31, 2008


At the top of this page I defined articulate not only as being able to express oneself clearly, but also as having joints. And although I have been accused of being a random thinker, the joints between my thoughts are completely clear... to me, at least! The challenge lies in articulation, joining them in such a way that they are clear to others, also.

"Articulated" is a word that has always fascinated me. For one thing, it just sounds cool. To prove my point, try this: say "articulated" aloud.

Now do it again, only louder.

Come on, lose those inhibitions and shout it!

See? People are looking at you. It just sounds cool. (We won't go into the real reasons people stare at you.) And we just proved that if you can say words that sound cool, you get more
attention. Well, maybe that's not exactly what we proved with our little experiment, but it is true. Each baby, mouthing the sounds "da da" and "ma ma," immediately learns that making the right noises gains positive feedback. A few years later, about the time they reach Kindergarten, children try the same process with words they've heard on the bus and quickly learn that making the wrong noises gains extremely negative feedback! So they choose to say good words, cool words, words that sound like they mean something new or important.

But not only does the word "articulated" sound great when you say it (provided you're not saying it loudly enough to annoy your coworkers), it is also applied to many
interesting objects. A quick Google image search of the word shows photos of an articulated bus, an articulated crane, articulated trucks and tractors, and even an articulated retractable mount in case you want to attach your TV to your wall. I'm not sure why you would want your TV attached to your wall, except that it would make it harder to steal. Unless a thief broke into your house and took out the entire wall with his articulated crane, that is. But there have gotta be easier ways of stealing TVs.

So where has all this articulation led us?

Not to stealing TVs. We are not advocating thievery here. Nor are we advertizing for a certain type of bus, crane, truck, tractor, or other machine. We did make a subtle plug for Google searches, but that was mere prudence, since you just can't plug yahoo on a Google-sponsored site. Besides, I like Google better. I do. Really.

The point, I believe, is that articulation is not just a cool word or type of machine, but it is also an important concept, a tool to be used for achieving a specific purpose. Articulation takes two or more separate items and joins them together to accomplish something bigger than could have been completed by either object alone. Whether you are joining parts of a crane together or stringing words in a chain to carry meaningful thought, articulation gets the job done.

In my own life I see examples of the benefits of articulation every day. When my schedule is joined to or coordinated with that of my spouse, we end up with fewer conflicts. When I clearly join words together to convey meaning to my children, we understand each other better and achieve more. And most important of all, when I keep my own will firmly joined to the Heavenly Father's through a living relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, my life becomes much more profitable as I grow and learn and function as He would have me do.

Articulation. It’s not just a cool sounding word for interesting machines, it’s also a vital tool for accomplishing things in my everyday life.