3V0329.01 Pointing and imperative /dae/. Social rich interpretation. 12/17/78
POINTING AND NAMING — Over the last several days Peggy has been VERY cranky. She always wants to be picked up and makes this clear in two ways: she whines or cries; she crawls over and climbs up on your leg. New teeth are definitely coming in (but whether this is adequate to explain her crankiness I cannot say). In this general situation, it has been hard to pay attention to Peggy. But one development has surfaced. When Peggy wants some object she can see in your hands — a pipe for instance — she now reaches out, pointing with two fingers and she says /dae/ with an imperative tone. (She has been doing so for 2 or 3 days now. The frequency is declining and it may drop out of manifest common behaviors.)
This use may derive from the ‘thank you’ and ‘here’ with which we accompany the object exchange in Peggy’s giving. (The inflection of ‘here’ is usually imperative as in “Here. Take this.” as contrasted with the less directive ‘here.’
RELEVANCE — Having re-read the notes above, what I find strange and most in contrast, is the way we actually interpret what Peggy says. Children and grownups hear (assume) Peggy is saying /thaet/ (or is it /daet/?). We interpret what she appears to use in command as a verbal, further- specification — no = we interpret her pointing as a further specification of a nominal or prenomial reference to a thing which we assume she wants.