3V0182.02 Verbal imitation game: /aen/ 07/23/78
At a late supper, one even less formal than usual and after she had been fed, Peggy entertained us at the table. Somehow a game began, I think between Peggy and me, of specific imitations on variations of a single sound — an aspirated, nasalized short ‘a’ (/oen/). The typical form was this —
1. while maintaining eye contact, Peggy made her sound, then looked at me expectantly
2. I imitated her sound as best I could
3. Peggy smiled broadly.
Subsequently, this procedure was repeated several times with sound simply repeated, drawn out, or doubled. Then I cited to Gretchen that Peggy had definitely begun this game based on my imitating her. Gretchen joined in the imitations — and so did Miriam and Robby. Peggy’s delight was extreme when he[r] sounds led us in chorus to imitation. After a number of iterations, I interjected a different sound /boo/ (one more or less in her repertoire but quite different from /oen/). Robby and Miriam imitated me a few times. Peggy looked quite attentively at us, but she did not join the chorus and I let the game drop.