In this article Renata Love Jones and Patrick Proctor introduce the notion of pursuing language to engage in critical dialogue about the nature and focus of language and literacy education in multilingual and multicultural contexts. A persistent threat in language and literacy education is standardization that constrains how language and literacy are operationalized, which further limits how children can bring their unique communicative practices into schools and classrooms. In response, the authors describe pursuing language as a state of being responsive in our language and literacy instruction, with the goal of developing literacy skills through culturally affirming and anti-oppressive practices. They operationalize this pursuit of language in classroom contexts by delineating a framework of critical metalinguistic engagement. The article begins with a theory of languaging and goes on to unpack critical metalinguistic engagement by each of its component parts—critical, metalinguistic, and engagement—and concludes with an argument for being intentional about pursing language through relationships and dispositions that affirm language diversity in educational practice and research.

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