How Articulable Works

In day-to-day life, you encounter many different things, concepts, and ideas. Some of these can be extremely complex: scientific or academic jargon, or just something that you take for granted and rarely have to explain. However, the majority of the things we come across are articulable.

There's nothing more relatable than hearing someone say, "I just can't put it into words." Language can often limit our world, and different languages often interpret the world in different ways. We often find that certain words are inarticulable in other languages—they don't translate well. For example, the Russian word" djhe" conveys emphasis, but in an incredibly subtle way that is impossible to translate into the English language. The "lost in translation" effect might make some sentiments expressed in Russian inarticulable in English.

Real World Example of Articulable

We use this word most commonly in a legal context. For courts to pass judgments on an assured basis, the judge and jury's reasoning must be articulable. For someone to be suspected of or arrested for a crime, then their motive for committing that crime must be articulable. This is a significant part of the law because of the fact that it means police cannot arrest nor may courts try people based on someone's "hunch"—which would be heavily open to abuse.

You can think of this in the context of a police officer pulling someone over on the street. Because of the fact that police are obligated to let people go about their business outside of some specific policies, there must be an articulable reason. For example, a police officer decides to pull someone over because they were driving erratically and appeared to swerve onto a side street. The police officer had articulable suspicion that they were involved in some illegal activity. However, if the officer decides to pull someone over "because they gave them a funny feeling," then the reasoning is unacceptable.

Significance of Articulable

We rarely come across things that we cannot explain in words. The fact is, no matter how complex something is, it usually has a simple explanation. Think of definitions of the trickiest words—they're rarely more than a line or two long. However, some people might find these things impossible to explain. If someone cannot explain something, it is fair to say that it is not articulable. Most often, though, inarticulable things are feelings and emotions.

Articulable Vs Articulate

These two words share roots. However, they differ, with the former being an adjective and the latter being a verb. The root comes from the Latin word "articulus," meaning a "small connecting part." So we see how the word "articulable" relates to an explanation of something—connecting something tangible with words.

Further, the legal connotation which you have already read about is not connected to the verb "to articulate." Also, articulation itself can sometimes refer to the pronunciation of words instead of "articulable," which refers to the content or meaning of something.