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This room-size dictionary was shown during my stay in the US in the spring term of 2010. English is not my first language. Sometimes I feel that my response sounds really off topic; however, I am not sure which misinterpretation of which word in the original question led to my ‘off topic’ answer. During conversations, I am very aware of my involvement in sense-making. Often I cannot ask for explanations of words that are used in a conversation with me; words that I, however, do not know. This dictionary is the lingual learning outcome of 3 months of conversations in the US. It is, at the same time, also the story of my relatedness to people I had not met before my visit. Each card that is displayed names a word that somebody used in a conversation with me; a word, however, that I did not know. The word is followed by the phonetic spelling of the word (how I heard it) and by the original individual interpretation of the word (the interpretation that I applied within the conversation). This dictionary is an invitation into the daily practice of sense-making within oral conversations. We are all involved in this practice every day; whether we think we speak the same language or not.

This dictionary was on display at the ‘true stories untold’ event in May 2010. Visitors to the event were asked to add to the vocabulary of the dictionary by writing a new tag and adding it to the room-size dictionary. Which word visitors decided to teach me, however, again points to a value system at play and the relationship between the single visitor and myself.

The dictionary was set up in the same room as the display case which exhibited cultural artefacts; candies. The specification of these artefacts was in progress during the ‘true stories untold’ event and visitors were asked to identify these cultural artefacts and to label them as precisely as possible. Visitors were invited to closely inspect and taste the artefacts. As an outcome of both participatory projects being displayed together, the conversations held by the visitors in this room circled around discovering joint moments in childhood memories, as well as the meaning of language.