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Articulate vs Pronounce vs Enunciate

Articulate, Pronounce and Enunciate are comparable when they mean to form speech sounds.

To articulate is to break up, by manipulation of the vocal organs, an expiration of breath into distinct parts (as phones or words) such that a sequence of these constitutes intelligible speech.

  • his agitation was so great that he could not articulate

In a precise phonetics use to articulate is to close or narrow the vocal organs in such a manner as to produce a sound, especially a consonant, of a language, more specifically by the adjustment of the tongue with relation to the palate, at the place where the tongue has, for that sound, its maximum elevation.

  • many foreigners . . . use a / articulated by the tip of the tongue against the upper teeth . . . . This articulation produces a very unnatural effect when used in English

In slightly extended usage articulate may also mean to make the manipulations or articulations for the sounds as a whole in one’s speech with such care or carelessness that one’s speech is distinctly or indistinctly heard.

To pronounce is to employ articulations, accentuation, and intonation with an acceptability whose yardstick is the usage of others.

  • colonel is pronounced the same as kernel
  • s in his is pronounced z
  • c at first had the value of hard g. During the classical Latin period it was pronounced k

To enunciate is to articulate with an effectiveness whose yardstick is a listener’s ease of understanding.

  • enunciating their words with peculiar and offensive clarity