3V1026.1

3V1026.01 “walrus”: Peggy’s assertion that graphic symbols name things
(11/13/80)

On one of the walls at the Logo lab is painted a large rhinoceros — in
that blue paint which may be used as a chalk board. That drawing has
many things chalked on it: one of Miriam’s “queens”, binary arithmetic,
a set of matrices. I sat in a small chair near the nose and, Peg, with a
stick in hand used as a pointer, explained to me what it was all about.
“Walrus”, she said, “That word say ‘walrus’.” With a non-committal but
encouraging response from me, she went on. Peg stepped back and
returned near me to the head. “That’s a hoppapitimus.” “O.K.” My
agreement was not perhaps enthusiastic enough to offset her
misgivings “…he’s got a funny nose.”

Why this is interesting. I believe Peggy first decided the picture was of
a walrus — and then proposed the speculation that the graphic symbols
meant the name of the things. The conclusions is that the most salient
use of alphabetic language is as the names of things…

Think of those children raised in families where everything is labeled.
This may be not so much instruction imposed as taking advantage of
the child’s hypothesis.

We could do that. Do we want Peggy to learn to read now ? It would be
to her advantage as Gretchen becomes more encumbered by her
pregnancy and the new baby.

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