Languaging in the age of Meta
On Judith Bridges’ “Explaining -splain in digital discourse”
Keywords:Metapragmatics, polysemy, neologisms, epistemic injustice, normativity, recontextualization
Judith Bridges’ analysis of -splain discourse illustrates the slipperiness of language in the age of Twitter, microblogging, and cancel culture and helps explain why having meaningful public discourse seems increasingly difficult. X-splaining is a form of epistemic injustice. I suggest that, barring a Humpty-Dumpty theory of meaning, attempts to recontextualize neologisms like mansplain to make them antonyms of their original meanings should be seen as misuses. Moreover, -splain terms creatively and conveniently compress multiple meanings into one, but can also function to cut off dialogue, making it harder to hold speakers accountable for their claims.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Barbara Fultner
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