3V0559.01 “Daddy Hug Peggy” : 08/04/79;
Comforting the baby, it was our custom to hold her close and pat her
gently on the back. Amusingly, when she was so comforted, even
though crying, Peggy would return this gentle patting on the back.
Recently, she has begun responding to my statement or question
“Daddy hug Peggy” by toddling close to me, ready to receive a hug.
After my many previous huggings of her toy fox and bear,
accompanied by verbal description, e.g. “Daddy hug Foxy,” Peggy
would hug her toy and would eventually do so in response to a verbal
command (if she wanted to). Sitting in my lap today, I said, “Daddy hug
Peggy.” Her response was to come to me (i.e. lean over to my torso),
put her head on my chest sideways, and put her arms around my waist;
i.e. Peggy hugged me. The activity is the first, with explicit verbal
connection, wherein agent and patient can be interchanged. As such, it
can show both Peggy’s pristine interpretation and can be used as a test
vehicle to explore when and how Peggy begins connecting surface word
order with different roles.
The pristine interpretation of “Daddy hug Peggy” and “Peggy hug
Daddy” is order invariant and seems to be “Daddy and Peggy hug each
other.” This construction of mine reflects an earlier conception of
Mimi Sinclair’s (for older babies, i.e. several years of age) but more
importantly springs out of the evidence itself both of this incident and
Peggy’s earlier “patting.”