chapter  3
The given and the new
Pages 4

We use language to make the future from the past, to build a relationship between what has been and what is to come; and we use the resources of past experience to make new, joint, knowledge and understanding. Using language, we can transform the raw material of our shared life experiences into stories which have continuity and coherence. This is a joint enterprise, in which we have to make assumptions about the amount of relevant prior experience and understanding we share with the people with whom we are communicating, and draw partners’ attention to what is relevant. As I will explain, there are some common techniques for doing this which we all probably use, successfully or otherwise, most days of our lives.