Taking a unified view of life, language, and cognition, the Special Issue contests linguistic (or enactivist) models that grant “reality” to symbolic entities. Rather than focus on texts, utterances, or communication, language is traced to living in the extended human ecology. On a distributed view, languaging arises as, alone or together, people act while orienting to denotata and (physical) wordings. Languaging requires, not linguistic bodies, but skills based in common ways of understanding. While verbal entities are of immense value, they draw on a history of reflecting on languaging from a language stance; people need only imagine “symbols.” Accordingly, languaging is part of acting, observing and imagining. Using a language stance suffices for reflecting on human practices and written marks as if linguistic entities were “real.” The deflationary view extends to semiotics. As Ho and Li (2019) document, languaging-and-action enables a learner to grasp a Chinese character as a sign. While, in principle, semiosis might draw from physics or life, signs are also likely to derive from human practice. Coming to read Chinese may require not a semiotic ontology, but a human ability to self-fabricate new powers. By deflating linguistic models one can avoid appeal to observer-independent signs.