"Articulated" as Verb

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Jun 26 10:55:13 UTC 2008

Quoting "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>:

> "To articulate oneself" doesn't seem 'right' to me. At a glance,
> instances of this reflexive usage seem to be mostly (but not entirely)
> very recent.
> I suppose the rationale might go like this.
> "To articulate one's ideas" = "to [clearly] express one's ideas". [Seems
> OK so far.]
> Therefore "to articulate" = "to express".
> Therefore "to articulate oneself" = "to express oneself".
> In a casual glance at a few conventional dictionaries, I find "express
> oneself" but not "articulate oneself".
> -- Doug Wilson

I agree that "articulate oneself" doesn't seem "right," perhaps because it
reminds me of "disarticulate," to separate at the joints, which could make
communication difficult. Nor does the image of self-assembly help much
to build
a compliment.

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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