3V0938.1

3V0938.01 My-best-friend: early phrases as unstructured idioms; early variations:
(8/17/80)

How many words is this utterance ? How fluid or viscous are the
relations of parts and the whole ? Playing down at Jacob’s Beach, Peggy
used this phrase to refer to ANY child she met there of her size. (She
has originally used it to refer to her cousin Matthew, met once only but
of her size. Miriam’s best friend, Clare, is of her [Miriam’s] size. We
can speculate that to Peggy, this phrase was a uniform phrase of no
internal structure.

The first variablization of this phrase was most natural, but one which
doesn’t permit us to distinguish specifically its extended direction.
Peggy and I were discussing Scurry and noted she a was a good dog.
Peggy referred to her “my best dog.” The dog is Peggy’s friend —
perhaps her closest friend (surely so if we don;t count her parents and
siblings), very much more Peggy’s equal in size than we giants are.
So we conclude that we see a more specific meaning-compatible, non-
substitution into a phrase rich in meanings (ie. meaning both “similar
to me in size” and “friendly”). This connects with the ideas of PRCEW
(“Pre-readers’ Concept of the English Word”) (Miriam’s analysis, i.e.
naming comments in her Piagetian profile) that the “real” name of a
thing is its most specific descriptions and any less complete descriptions
is imperfect and vulnerable to criticisms.

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