Languaging in the age of Meta

On Judith Bridges’ “Explaining -splain in digital discourse”


  • Barbara Fultner Denison University



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.

Author Biography

Barbara Fultner, Denison University

William G. Bowen Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies. Specializes in: Continental and analytic philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of language and mind, meaning and social practice, intersubjectivity, dialogue.




How to Cite

Fultner, B. (2022). Languaging in the age of Meta: On Judith Bridges’ “Explaining -splain in digital discourse”. Language Under Discussion, 6(1), 61–67.