1. In oral communication, control of the voice so as to produce clear and distinct sounds in speech.
2. (semiotics) Structural levels within semiotic codes—which are divisible into those with single articulation, double articulation, or which are unarticulated. A semiotic code which has double articulation (as in the case of verbal language) can be analysed into two abstract structural levels: a higher level called the level of first articulation and a lower level—the level of second articulation. At the level of first articulation the system consists of the smallest meaningful units available (e.g. morphemes or words in a language). These meaningful units are complete signs, each consisting of a signifier and a signified. At the level of second articulation, a semiotic code is divisible into minimal functional units which lack meaning in themselves (e.g. phonemes in speech or graphemes in writing). They are not signs in themselves (the code must have a first level of articulation for these lower units to be combined into meaningful signs). If a code cannot be decomposed into minimal re-usable elements which are in themselves non-meaningful then the code lacks the double articulation found in verbal language. No-one has been able to identify any basic, recurrent, and rearrangeable non-meaningful units into which paintings, photographs, or films could be wholly decomposed and thus such media are said to lack double articulation. In linguistics, the use of the term articulation in the structural sense is largely abandoned, and double articulation is referred to as duality of patterning. In his list of the design features of human language, Hockett listed this as a feature not shared with the communication systems of any other species.
3. Structural relationships between elements of a social formation. See also base and superstructure; relative autonomy.
4. Broadly, in cultural studies, the intersection of different facets of social identity (such as gender, ethnicity, class, and age) at a particular moment.