So far we have treated context as something that is just ‘‘there’’ surrounding speech. Listeners consult both what a speaker has said and the context in which it was said, put these together-kind of add them up-and thereby give meaning to the speaker’s words. This view of context is too static. It leaves out the power speakers have to shape how listeners view context. Language has a rather magical property: When we speak we build and design what we have to say to fit the context in which we are communicating. But, at the same time, how we speak-what we say and how we say it-helps create that very context. It seems, then, that we fit our language to a context that our language, in turn, helps to create in the first place. This is rather like the ‘‘chicken and egg’’ question: Which comes first? The context we’re in, for example a university committee meeting? Or the language and interactions we use, for example our committee ways of talking and interacting (e.g., calling a question to get to a vote)? Are we speaking and acting this way because this is a committee meeting or is this a ‘‘committee meeting’’ because we are speaking and acting this way? If institutions, committees, and committee meetings didn’t already exist, our committee ways of speaking and interacting wouldn’t mean anything or be possible. But, then, too, if we did not speak and act in certain ways, committees could cease to exist.