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Speaking of metalinguistics, rather than debate over definitions, I'm more =
interested in speaking to the very different people who are on this list. T=
he rumor is there are 800 folks out there. Where are you? :) To reference a=
 highly academic quote from the Wizard of Oz:=20

"Come out, come out wherever you are, and meet the young lady who fell from=
 the star!"
--Glinda, the Good Witch from the North (waves magic wand)

I'm curious how others have been inspired by Vygotsky and sociocultural the=
ory, and even other manifestations of his ideas, such as CHAT, etc and how =
people are using these approaches in their work. What is that like for you?=
 And to be more specific, what is that like for women and people of color? =
I'm also interested in thinking-out-loud with others about Vygotskian conce=
pts that are not easy to understand; to employ in real time dialogue and so=
cial interaction to leap over zopeds together. Isn't that what a listserv i=
s for? Or am I being too idealistic?

I have tried to speak in an open, easy, and immediate manner, to allow othe=
rs to engage. But I fear that engagement is never going to happen because a=
ll that persists are conversations about definitions, or whether nothing ca=
n come from nothing, and voila! subsequent debates ensue. Or someone will s=
ay, "We already discussed this 20 years ago!" Which means I missed the part=
y, I suppose. Unfortunately, if I disagree with a position because I interp=
ret differently, then I'm told to go read something without really a clear =
explanation why I'm supposed to go read something.=20

I don't really agree with the approach of "read this," as an academic argum=
ent. Anyone is free to use it, and I have myself, but because I know how ob=
tuse that can be, I couch it with my reasons why I think it would be a good=
 read for that person, and what I think there is learn from reading. I thin=
k the "read this" approach, when it is offered with the tone of "now go eat=
 your vegetables!" fails in the making of speech between people. All it doe=
s is shut things down.=20

If the reading truly is relevant, it seems far more productive in the momen=
t of speech to cue a person what to look for, to supply a context, especial=
ly when referencing an entire book, for example, or the link to an entire w=
ebsite full of texts.=20

Your assessment in the physicality of language is something with which I am=
 completely in agreement. Especially since we all seem to agree with the ma=
terial aspects of language. So the question at hand is a matter of form. Fo=
rm has an aesthetic but also has a purpose. Are we throwing ropes or throwi=
ng boulders? If throwing boulders, where does that need to throw boulders c=
ome from? If throwing ropes, then at least connections are being made for t=
hose who might not be very clear about ideas and who may require a helping =
hand.

Then there's the old, but handy, elliptical comment, something like a boome=
rang... meant to be subtle or ironic at the expense of someone who may not =
understand.

At this point, I'd to emphasize that being ignorant is not being stupid, bu=
t it seems someone who is ignorant is frequently treated as stupid (um, on =
this list). This "phenomenon" has made me reflect upon how little time is s=
pent upon the nature of ignorance in education and the dynamics of ignoranc=
e in speaking. Every one of us is ignorant about most things in the world. =
And yet being ignorant is seen as an embarrassment, a deficiency, a lapse i=
n character. I vehemently disagree with this reception to ignorance. Even E=
instein said something like, "The more I know, the more I see how much I do=
n't know." Such an aggressive position toward ignorance is nothing but hurt=
ful, even arrogant. Arrogance is a blister, a defense mechanism from previo=
us hurt. A person who is honest about one's own ignorance is a very strong =
person and is showing a willingness to learn something. I think all teacher=
s will agree that a person who knows one doesn't know is an easier student =
to teach than one who doesn't know one doesn't know.

Iconicity is something I can hang my hat on. I see it is related to pointin=
g. What I like about pointing is that it is a gesture, which implies moveme=
nt, in the way the word is also movement. I hope I have made sufficient per=
sonal connections to your concepts without the heat. Thank you for offering=
 them to me.=20

Kind regards,

Annalisa