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Archive with last of tag-string Evl


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.”


3V0569.01 Gone : 08/14/79;

Peggy has been using the word ‘gone’ since the VT of August 6. By it she
means finished, empty, nothing left. Today I helped her get the last of
a container of yogurt. Then I put the cap back on, preparatory to
throwing it out. Peggy watched and remarked, “Gone?”


3V0573.01 See and That: 08/18/79;

Scurry looms large in Peggy’s life, and it should be no surprise that she
was much delighted to find among our other books one on “Caring for
Your Scotch Terrier.” After bringing the book to me, Peggy turned
pages and pointed. [That…that…see]. In this usage, I see prefigured a
functional split, i.e. “see that” versus “what is the name of that” and
“that is a thing I recognize.” Where has SEE come from? Nowhere
surprising, my speech or Gretchen’s or the children’s. The pattern here
is one of differentiated verbal expressions applied without apparent
distinction to a single phenomenon (the variegated verbal expressions
are socially given).


3V0573.02 Enriched Phrases : 08/18/79;

Peggy has long said [have that] meaning either [(you) have that] or [(I
want to) have that] as the pragmatic context makes sufficiently clear.
In a typical scenario today, Peggy was unnecessarily specific in her
utterance, thus. Peggy frequently plunks some object (a book or toy) in
one’s lap, says “have that” and indicates her desire to lap-sit. Today
she placed a doll in my lap and said /***/. When I asked “Who have the
doll?” she responded [get up], and coming around my knee, made
clear it was she who should “get up.”

Relevance: Peggy here strung together two utterances which we would
recognize as ‘phrases.’ [have doll] was unnecessarily specific. I
interpret its use as a sure sign that the utterance “have that” has
become a two-element phrase with one variable. Contrast “get up” with
the contrary “get down” (Peggy interprets both adequately) which may
be more easily conceived as two related idioms with a common
utterance core (/***/), whose commonality may be more accidental
than meaningful (as perceived by the child).


3V0574.02 “One” : 08/19/79;

Peggy has begun using the sound “one” to indicate that she wants some
particular thing. The use may have come from my giving her one
cookie for one hand and one cookie for the other (cf. VT P82 for her
counting 3 bean bags as one…one…SZBTFG[?]). Today, requesting a
cookie, she brought Gretchen to the counter, pointing to where we
keep the cookies and said [one…one…cook-ie…one…one]. apparently
making no distinction in her use of the words to refer to the

Relevance: This is a second, very clear example of Peggy’s developing
two verbal forms of reference covering a single referent (see Enriched
Phrases, 08/18). The theoretical point is that with such alternative
expressions, for specific things, world-meaningful distinctions may
become attached to varying forms of expression while maintaining
concrete relations.


3V0575.01 “Duff”: 08/20/79;

Peggy has been imitating words we speak (usually the last one of an
utterance) for quite some time. If I note anything special about this
imitation now, it is its becoming so pervasive as to be the norm in her
response now. When offered some cake this evening, Peggy responded
/***/ to Miriam’s question, “Would you like to have some cake,
Peggy?” When censured (by me) for removing table cloths from a
cabinet and told to “close the door,” Peggy continued to get out table
cloths — but referred to the door by its name.

When playing a game of Miriam’s invention — one where Miriam
emptied then inverted as a cap some bags for carrying apples and
began marching to “hup…hup…hup…hup” — when Miriam ran away
from Peggy and hid in the stairwell, Peggy followed her path, looking
for her with an inquiring “hup?”

The flexible use of words as mobile labels is most clear in another
incident from today’s luncheon. Peggy came begging at the table —
where she probably expected more of the American cheese I had given
her before — but she came to Gretchen indicating that she wanted
something to eat (I believe she said [one one one] but it may have been
non-verbal). Gretchen asked, “Would you like some baloney, Peggy?”
Peggy looked blank and responded [one one one]. Gretchen explained,
showing her a piece. “It’s this round stuff.” Peggy agreed almost
frantically [duf duf duf].

Relevance: In the last example, Peggy builds a verbal non-standard
‘word’ from the salient sounds at the end of the phrase which
describes the object of her desire and which she appears to assume is
the name of the thing she wants (at least it is the utterance she must
produce to get some).


3V0578.01 Up: [up] different use; spontaneous on sitting up: 08/23/79;

Playing with me on my bed, Peggy, after lying on her back at one point,
rose with her normal difficulty to sitting and said to herself, “Up.”
08/27 — Playing with a matchbox racer, Peggy pushed the little car
along the floor, up the vertical walls of the glass door, over to the
dresser and on its side, making all the while a /ZIZ/ZIZ/ZIZ/ sound (this
imitates our noises made as we move our hands in wide gestures to
tickle her). When she drove her little car over the upper edge of the
dresser onto the horizontal surface, Peggy said to herself, “Up.”

Relevance: In Gretchen’s note of Up (224) and these two observations,
we see Peggy clearly apply three distinct meanings of ‘up.’ The
occurrence of them within this short time span, and their unsolicited
occurrence, testify that some process of discrimination is at work on
the range of meanings to which ‘up’ is applied. The point I drive to is
an ascription: Peggy has experienced some insight, one of word [use]
comprehension, which has increased for her the salience of the word
‘up.’ Using the word ‘up’ for three quite different denotations, she can
thus connect and discriminate the relations instantiated in each of the

Peggy now uses ‘up’ to signify either that she wants me to hold her
(standing), to take her in my lap or some object from her precedent to
her sitting in my lap.


3V0578.02 “On” : 08/23/79;

Peggy [sat] on the bed today, playing with her feet. Examining the soles
at one point, she caught my eye and pointing to the considerable
patina of dirt (she goes barefoot), said very precisely “on” as she
touched the sole.


3V0579.01 “On, on on” : 08/24/79;

Later the next day, while Gretchen rubbed some lotion on herself after
a bath, Peggy, sitting on the bed, pointed repeatedly at her own thighs
and said repeatedly “on, on, on.” (The tone and gesture made this
imperious rather than declarative.)


3V0579.02 Door shut on foot : 08/24/79;

Yesterday Peggy, Miriam, and I drove downtown. We stopped at Gordy’s
and I left the two of them in the car. When I returned, Peggy was crying
lustily and Miriam explained that she (Miriam) had opened the door
and closed it again on Peg’s foot. Today I said something to Peggy about
her poor foot, patting it the while, and she responded with an
utterance I heard as “door shut on foot [it?].” Gretchen.


3V0581.01 Increased Specificity: 8/26/79;

By now it is clear that Peggy is trying to communicate (orally) on a
wider scale. “Dat, dat, dat” lacked any specificity and soon outran its
usefulness. She then developed a remarkable range by merely varying
the pitch on a neutral syllable [***], repeated several times. Now she
seems to be trying hard to be more specific in her communications,
since pitch has been taken to its limits. Perhaps she has developed this
willingness for oral communication from observing our reactions to
her noises. Attention is prompt, but service is often slow because we
don’t know what she is after. But we question her out loud [is it this,
do you want ____, etc.] trying to find what is on her mind. She can see
that there are many different things to say, and saying the “right”
words leads to swifter and better (from her point) reactions from
others, i.e. she gets what she is after and gets it faster.


3V0581.01 On: [on]: three different applications of “on” similar to concurrent
discriminating uses of [up].: 8/26/79;

This morning Peggy clambered into my bed where I waked from a nap.
She sat beside me, pointing with her right hand at her left upper arm.
She said /”on”/ at least four times in succession. I was much perplexed
at this third application of “on,” thought perhaps Peggy might be here
confusing it with /”arm”/ [arm].

Later Gretchen explained that Peggy’s Holly Hobby doll the day previous
lost an arm and that Gretchen had described it to Peggy (in lieu of
repairing the doll), “Oh, the arm has come off.” Subsequently, when
we played together later, (to discriminate whether she was saying
/”on”/ or /”arm”/) I pointed to Peggy’s left upper arm and said “off.”
She corrected me immediately /”on”/ /”on”/, indicating that she was
not confused at all about what my reference might mean.

Relevance: I find this triple application of “on” striking as it occurs in
conjunction with the similar 3-part discrimination witnessed for “up.”
There is no magic in ‘3’, but if one asks for a next similar, small
number consequent to simple connection of knowledges or division, 3
comes after 2 and seems no more arbitrary than the 5 or 6-fold
duplication Marvin’s theory suggests.


3V0585.01 TWO : [two]: counting puddles; spontaneous use: 08/30/79;

The kids and I went down to Bishops “Pick your own” raspberries.
While the older two picked, Peggy and I walked up and down the dirt
road to one side of the bushes. It had rained recently, and there were
puddles. Peggy and I pointed them out to each other. She told me
there was “water”, and I agreed, “Yes, puddles of water”. “Pud-duh”,
repeated Peggy. At a particularly big one, :There’s a big puddle,
Peggy”. After an instant, Peggy said “Doo”. Surely enough, there was a
second small puddle right next to the large one. “That’s right, Peg.
There are TWO puddles of water. One, two.” Gretchen.


3V0586.03 [doos, doos] = juice 8/31/79

Miriam was in the kitchen, fooling around with the refrigerator. As she
began closing it, Peggy ran in from the living room crying [doos…doos].
It took me a moment to realize what she meant; then I called after her,
“Juice ? Do you want some juice, Peggy ?” She replied with an
affirmative noise, and Miriam gave her some orange juice. Gretchen.


3V0587.01 /cul’/du/vae/vae’/: CENTRAL INCIDENT;
major insight ascribed on basis of incident. 9/1/79

Over the past several weeks, our house has suffered a greater than
usual density and flux of Tintin cartoon books. As do the older kids,
Peggy enjoys them. She brings a magazine, says /aen//aen/ and
convinces one to hold her in his lap while she turns the pages and
points to various figures with little squeals of delight. Her favorite
character is “Snowy”, the little white dog and Tintin’s persistent
companion. When she points to the dog, we tell her it’s “Snowy”, but
Peggy has settled on her own term /cuhlduh/ (variously /cai/duh/ and
/cai/dae/ as her name for Snowy.

Now Peggy has in the past referred to our Scotty as [Scurry] (more or
less) and most recently used /vae/vae/ to refer to Scurry or some
distant barking dog. The point is that /vae/vae/ seems more related to
barking than to “dogginess” as such. One might think of her use
nominally as equivalent to “barker.” Therefore /cul/duh/ seemed
merely a new and different name for Snowy… but we were fooled, for
Peggy began to call Scurry /cul/duh/ and now does so regularly.

This evening, Peggy sat in my lap for a while. Scurry was waiting to be
taken out for her evening walk and Gretchen took the dog on her lap to
groom her a little. This is unusual and Peggy pointed at her /cul/duh/
(she said). Peggy got down, wandered off and behind my chair. The
dog began to growl on hearing a distant bark. Peg pointed at her
excitedly /vae/vae/, /vae/vae/. I responded in her tongue:
/cul/duh/vae/vae/, at which Peggy’s face lit up with a broad beaming
smile (so Gretchen notes and described it; I was looking the other way.)

Relevance: We both recognize this as an exciting moment of insight
into verbal communication for Peggy. She wanted to very much to
express her meaning “the dog barks”: but could not except by pointing
and saying /vae/vae/ simultaneously. My expression exemplified how
serial order expresses the subject-predicate relation in her vocabulary
and context. I judged then, and still hold (9/9/79), that this incident
marks the beginning of Peggy’s knowledge of generative syntax. That
is, here, Peggy learned how to assemble subject and predicate to
express a thought already formed, as distinct from expressing
idiomatically a thought “associable” with the idiom. I take this to be
one of the most important observations in this record.


3V0588.01 [mine…box]: “sentences” with pauses; precursors to standard
structures. 9/2/79

Playing in the living room, Peggy recognized a large card board box in
which I kept blocks et alia for our experiments. Robby has just picked
up all the junk left scattered about by Peggy the day before. She
struggled to pull the box off the low hearth. It was heavy. [Mine] (still
tugging) she said, and after a while…[box].

The question here is whether these two utterances were intended as
one. Did Peggy mean that the box was hers ? Or did she mean two
things ? First an assertion of ownership; secondly, something like an
exhortation to the box to come along with her tugging ? No certainty,
but I believe the latter to be true.


3V0588.02 [some…/bae/bae/]: appearance of modified noun, but no clear
evidence that “some” is used adjectively.

As Peggy has recently pleaded [one… one… one…] when asking for a
cookie or a piece of cheese, an apple, or whatever. Our frequent
response has been “Do you want some cheese ?” etc. Thus the word
“some” has begun creeping into Peggy’s repertoire, as one
interchangeable with “one.”

“baba” appeared first (my recall may be faulty here) as the name Peggy
applied to her large bear (?) “Bearhug”. It rapidly was generalized in
references to anything Peggy wanted, e.g. cheese, an apple (see Vignette
V0585B). Today I heard her pleased [some… some… some… baba]

Thus, as with [mine…box] we have the appearance of a modified noun,
but no clear evidence that the noun is as one modified adjectively.
What would be evidence: a pattern of speech accompanying actions
thus “some blocks… some cups… some balls…” etc. or “One cup… one
ball…” in Peggy’s natural speech production.


3V0593.01 [maemae take bath]: CENTRAL NOTE: first complex follow up to /cul’/du/vae/vae’/ 9/7/79

This morning, as Peggy and I played on the bed, Gretchen asked if I
were going to take a bath, and we agreed she should do so first. Peggy
played with her bear, picked up a book, called out “Mama !” and
received no direct answer — for at that moment Gretchen opened the
tap to draw her bath. Hearing the sound, Peggy turned to me and said
[Mama take bath].

Relevance: I consider this production extremely important as an
unquestionable example of a sentence generated as a comment on the
immediate context and growing out of Peggy’s concerns (ie. why didn’t
Gretchen answer). That is, I don’t see how this utterance could be a
fixed, memorized idiom. I interpret it to be a two element catenation,
MAMA and TAKE-BATH, both of which were independently meaningful
and recently salient in the ambience, i.e. Gretchen and I both referred
to taking baths and Peggy has just called out “Mama.”

Notice well that this simple catenation follows upon Peggy’s insight
(ascribed in the discussion of /cul/duh/vae/vae/; vignette V0586A)
that simple catenation expressed in the utterance conventions of
English the two aspects of agent and action. The insight has become an
element of structure used in production.

If my ascription of an insight to Peggy and witnessing its latter
application be accurately traced in these incidents — should not one
ask “Is it surprising that few have witnessed the critical developments
of language knowledge in the context and experience of infants and
prefer instead some alternative explanation.”


3V0594.01 /wae/thaet/: issues: discussion of what a word is. 9/8/79

Peggy has enjoyed playing with my belt as a baby but has not done so
for quite a while. Today, she sat in my lap and, pointing at my belt
buckle, said, “/wae/thaet/?” I told her it was a belt buckle, which
answer seemed to satisfy her.

Relevance: This pair of incidents highlights the difficulty of ascribing
competence from performance — but they also show the extent to
which context of utterance, the pragmatics of speech, makes it
possible. Thus:
1. it is clear that Peggy uses /wae/thaet/ to mean “what’s that?”
2. she may also use it to mean “wash that”, but such would be a more
restricted meaning and would become, if not be essentially, secondary.
These observations are important because they come down on the issue
of what a word is. That is, is /wae/thaet/ an idiom or two words of
distinguishable meaning ? I believe the former is the case.


3V0594.02 ONE, TWO: [one, two]: note on standardization of Peggy’s counting

You can’t avoid counting, and it’s hard to avoid instructing those who
don’t know what you know — but we’ve been trying to avoid instructing
Peggy. The children are persistent, at odd moments that we can’t
witness. So Peggy’s idiosyncratic counting [one, one, one,…
undecipherable noise] gave way to the more nearly standard
utterance [one two] in contexts of counting as follows: Peggy sees
me drink beer from a can and customarily names that object /kaen/.
She also looks in trash baskets. Today she came upon two in the trash
and said: [can…one…two] where the last had the sound /du(z)/. (The
notation (z) means here that I did not hear the z sound but Gretchen
did). No pointing, unfortunately.


3V0594.03 /cul’/dae/gen’/: elaboration of verbal portion of script for exploration beyond simple pragmatic requirements. 9/8/79

Peggy enjoys playing with Scurry in different ways, but most of them
share the element of her getting Scurry to move where she wants her.
The usual form involves tugging the dog’s tail or ear.

Tonight, Peggy found Scurry with her leash attached, and Scurry,
perhaps hoping vainly that Peggy would take her for a walk, was quite
willing to follow on the lead. So Peggy began running from the living
room to the kitchen and back again, delighting in her effective
command of the dog. After a few round trips, she began to say aloud
/ken/ at the end of each trip as she slowed down for the return. I
interpreted this instantaneously as “I can lead Scurry.” but her meaning
either changed quickly or became clearer as different…
Scurry started showing resistance — to the extent that Peggy had to tug
hard on the lead to get her started moving. The /k/ became /g/ and
/gen/ accompanied the tugging. As Scurry became increasingly
resistant, Peggy addressed Scurry: /cul/duh/… /cul/duh/gen/.

Relevance: Here is a case when an agent is further specified than the
context of pragmatics requires, for exhortation — at least for gaining
the agent’s attention. The action specified by the context and the sense
is “Scurry, (do it) again.” The structure of the sense is clearly present.
The words of (more or less) common speech are being gradually filled
in for the sake of effective communication.


3V0594.04 [mommy, get door]: vocative action sentence. 9/8/79

Running the dishwasher. The last thing to go in was Peggy’s cup. she
called after it [cup, cup, cup…]. Then she scrabbled at the closed door
of the machine, finally turning to me and saying “Mommy” (not
momma) “get door.”


3V0597.01 [sharp]: diaper pins

This morning as I was changing her diaper, Peggy handed me a diaper
pin with the observation [sha] (sharp). She has often been told about
pins, but not recently.


3V0597.02 Gotcha: a game – shows fluidity of actions and control over them at the complete and partial changes of rules (see also P.85)

Peggy has long played a game with me where she would come between
my knees and I would give her a gentle squeeze, saying “gotcha”. Her
control of the game was very clear in such acts as putting her arm
between my legs as bait and in her squeezing my knees together when I
showed a reluctance to play. Today, a new development. Peggy
presented her toy “Bearhug” for squeezing. When I realized her
intention, I complied, but at her first presenting the bear I was
confused, thinking she wanted me to hug the bear, which I did. Peggy
was unhappy and taking the bear with one hand, she held it between
my knees and trying to close my knees with a hand on one she said

What I see as interesting here is the fluid relation of our actions and the
control of them and the complete and partial changing of roles
between hugger and victim. (confer also P85) where this is


3V0603.01 [cup…mama]: word catenation used to express an instantaneous relation that later becomes syntactically expressed. 9/17/79

Peggy sat in my lap while I sipped at my morning coffee. She has lately
been naming the containers from which I drink things, e.g. /kaen/ for a
beer can and /kuhp/ for such a one as she pointed out this morning.
After Peggy had just named my cup, Gretchen walked by carrying her
cup. Peggy commented [cup mama]. Thus, the sequence of words was
[cup (referring to mine)…(pause)… cup mama].

Importance: this is another example of word catenation used to express
an instantaneous relation that later becomes syntactically expressed.
The pragmatics clearly shows Peggy commenting on Gretchen’s
possession of the cup. That is, her intention and knowledge of
relations was clearly more specific and much further developed,
refined, than her means of expression.


3V0605.01 [kiss]: kisses doll spontaneously; verbal self-direction 9/19/79

While I was working in the kitchen, Peggy walked by holding a doll. She
held it up , said “kiss” and kissed the doll. A week later (9/26) Peggy
repeated this with me, saying spontaneously [kiss] and leaning over to
kiss me. (text repeated in 3V0611.1). Gretchen.


3V0609.01 [light off]: complex situation represented by order free catenation of
words. 9/23/79

Peggy and I have played with a flash light recently, which I switched on
and off and gave to her to play with. I named it for her as a “light”
which she reproduced as /lait/.

Peggy has since found lights everywhere and continually points then out
by naming. Thus she was excited to discover light bulbs in lamps,
fluorescent lights in our stairwell, and globular ceiling lights at the
library. I can no longer recall the specific incident and circumstance
wherein Peggy said [light off]. did I turn off a lamp ? Did Peggy see a
lamp in the “off” state which she usually sees “on” ?

In either case (or some other) a complex situation is represented by a
simple expression catenating two known words. There i no indication
that order is involved as a primary element of the expression. It might
be possible to argue for a topic and comment structure in this case.


3V0609.02 [pass]: desired food at table.
[bark] replacing /vae/vae’/ 9/23/79

At lunch today Peggy coveted our sandwiches. I don’t recall whether
the offer to give her some was direct or indirect; but Peggy reached out
her hand, waving and calling impatiently and imperiously, [pass, pass]

“Bark” is replacing “vava” as the word indicating what dogs do,
especially in the case of Scurry. Gretchen.


3V0610.01 [diaper…shit]: proto-sentence. 9/24/79

Peggy is taking a more active role in indicating a need for diaper
change. Frequently she will come over and pick at her plastic pants.
Today she included a verbal reference to /dai/puh/ (sometimes she
will remark [wet] and after a pause added [shit]. (she was right.) Gretchen.


3V0612.02 [help…zzzzz]: ie. please wind up my toy car. 9/26/79

Conversation: Peggy “He’p” Gretchen: Help? do you want some help ?
What do you want help with ?” Peggy: [Zzzz…] She wanted me to
wind up a little spring driven car. Gretchen.


3V0612.03 Getting a name wrong: [pooh pooh]: Tiger in Madeline (=> a new word = last phrase in discourse) 9/26/79

[Pooh pooh] (with falling intonation). Reading Madeline today. As we
turned the page which shows the little girls skating (left) and at the zoo
(right), Peggy immediately pointed to the tiger in the right hand picture
and said, “pooh pooh.” [(This is what Madeline says to the tiger in the
zoo.) Several days later, she identified her toy stuffed tiger as “pooh-
pooh.” Gretchen.


3V0612.04 Word practice: (“terrible” = /teh/bu/) 9/26/79

This morning, changing Peggy’s diaper, I remarked to her “Poor Peggy.
You are wet and soggy. That’s terrible.” Later on in the day, I heard
Peggy repeating something to herself. Listening, I heard /teh/buh/. She
repeated the word a number of times, as if practicing. Gretchen.


3V0615.05 More word practice and an inference: “sleepy” is a signifier appropriate to an observed yawn. 9/26/79

I yawned. Peggy looked at me and immediately inquired /S’ipi ?/ The
following morning a similar incident occurred with Miriam. For a day
or so, every time any one yawned, Peggy would as /s’ipi?/ This is
another word she has not been “taught.” At night, at bedtime, I will
sometimes say to her, “Peg, are you sleepy?” It might as often be “are
you tired?” Bob will remark “sleepy baby” as he holds a tired Peggy
before she goes up to bed. But putting “sleepy” as a proper response to
a yawn seems to be her own unprompted idea. Gretchen.


3V0614.02 [Da…door…go]: pre-sentence 9/28/79

Upstairs with Peggy in our bedroom. The door shut to keep her from
going downstairs, since we are here only a short time and I don’t want
to bother with the gate. Peggy was a little restless, wanting to leave.
She went to the door and pushed, saying [door…door]. Then (knowing
Bob was downstairs), [Da…door…go] Gretchen..


3V0619.02 [/cul/du/eat]: sentence. 10/3/79

Peggy left a partially eaten hot dog on the low hearth. Later I saw
Scurry prowling about, and asked Peggy, “Where is your hot dog?” She
replied [/cul/duh/ eat] Gretchen.


3V0622.01 [mama got eye]: MAJOR NOTE on cognitive structures behind speech; topic and comment at “discourse” level, not a word level. 10/6/79

Gretchen long ago began instructing Peggy in the names of body parts,
especially of the face. Recently, Peggy has surprised me by making
comments about the commonality of the body parts. For example,
pointing to her eye, she says [eye], then she points to me and repeats
[eye], then to Gretchen and Scurry, saying [eye] in all cases. I take this
point cum word as equivalent to the assertion that each of us creatures
has an eye.

The behavior is not restricted to eyes or to animate things. Today, we
gave Peggy a toy Scotty, which she referred to as /kuhl/dae/ and now
carries everywhere with her. Investigating it, Peggy noted its nose, its
eyes; pointed also to Scurry and me and made similar “assertions.”

The clearest proof of the positive assertion is the denial of its negation.
Peggy rarely says “no”. She usually indicates disagreement or
frustration by crying. In one of her rounds of assertions about noses, I
pointed to my nose and said “eye.” Peggy denied it at once [no]. The
response is vague in its interpretation. Could she have meant “nose” ?
(I think not. She always says /noz/, but I will have to try this negation

Sitting in my lap this evening before the fire, Peggy once again pointed
out owners of noses. She pointed to her nose and mine and then said
[mama got nose]. This is clearly a three word sentence. Is the order
standard by accident or necessity ?

The best indication of the real situation is shown by observing the more
extended context into which the locally coherent productions are
embedded. Today, comparing her toy Scotty and Scurry, Peggy went
through this sequence:
[culdae eye]
[eye (pointing at Gretchen)]
[Mama eye]

I have imposed order on these productions by putting brackets around
them… but those brackets are in my mind, not in Peggy’s. What is the
structure of this tirade in Peggy’s mind flux ? There is a clear assertion
that dogs have eyes. Then we infer the generalization that others have
eyes, as exemplified by Gretchen. The conclusion is the expression in
standard (agent/ copula/ property) of the instantiated generalization.

The structure of this utterance is thematically anchored, at the
discourse level. Sentence structure is derivative and secondary.

– – – –
Marginal notes (by Bob) made on 10/8/79:
I tried this (misnaming of body parts) with my ear. No clear result.
Peggy’s “ear” is not very well defined.
Peggy is much caught up with explicit specification of classes, e.g. all
things with noses. This gives thematic coherence to her discourses.
My ideas is that standard order derives from audiences recasting
speech into standard form at sentence level while Peggy’s focus is on
the discourse. She may take recasting, rephrasing as local corrections
to much approved discourse. Auditors do not notice they are
“correcting”, in their view they are just asking for confirmation of
their understanding.


3V0622.02 [bag…culdae gone]: extremely non-standard order.

Peggy was roving about with a plastic, opaque bag in one hand. She
picked up the toy Scotty we bought in Boston and stuffed it in the bag.
Peggy saw me looking at her and explained, [bag culdae gone].

Importance: locative (into the bag) Agent (culdah) Activity (playing
game “gone”). This is another example of extremely non-standard word


3V0625.01 Spontaneous [wet]: G: are you wet? P: /shen/.=”change”. 10/9/79

Peggy came over to me, pulling at her diaper and exclaiming /weht/.
“Are you wet ?” Peggy replied: /shen/. Gretchen.


3V0626.01 [mama hurt. mama hurt. hurt head] Context permits 10/10/79

This morning was a bad one for me. Rearranging the fire in the
upstairs fireplace, I banged the back of my head on the lintel. Peggy
could see and hear that I was upset. Less than five minutes later, I
passed through the partially completed partition between the new
bedrooms, didn’t duck far enough, and clocked the top of my head.
Our bed was not far away, so I went and sat down, half crying, half
cursing. Peggy was in the “family room” (our old bedroom). I heard
her go into Miriam’s room, repeating “Mama hurt. Mama hurt. Hurt
head.” (The only thing wrong with this communication is that Miriam
didn’t pay any attention.) Gretchen.


3V0628.01 [hurt…ham(mer?)]: instrumental case in presyntactic form 10/12/79

Working at completing the partition in Robby’s room, I set a chair
across the doorway to keep Peggy away from the tools and paint.
Having removed my shoes (paint on the bottom of one), I came out of
the room carrying a hammer. Stepping over the obstacles, I hit my toe
on it and limped in a stream of expletives to a chair where I sat down.
Peggy was solicitous [hurt ?…ham ?] — which I interpret to mean “did
you hurt yourself with the hammer ?” The sense of this sequence is
instrumental, as the context makes so clear.


3V0630.01 [gotcha]: verbal accompaniment of micro-script.

Peggy sat in my lap as I warmed me toes before the fire. At her request,
the toy Scotty was in her lap. She remarked [fire… hot], repeating our
frequent warning to her. I said “toes warm” and taking her legs, held
up her toes parallel to mine. The toy slipped between her legs, which
she closed on it saying [gotcha]…She laughed, pulled the toy dog out
and replaced it with another [gotcha]. this was done several times.


3V0632.01 [/teh/boin/?]: speculation about remote activity-telephone
[sae/vi]=sorry after poking with a pen. 10/16/79

Upstairs with Peggy when the telephone rang. I went downstairs,
answered it, and returned to Peggy upstairs after a short conversation.
She looked at me and commented /teh/boin/, i.e. “telephone.”

Peggy poked me with a pen. I said “Ouch!” and she replied /sah/vi/
(sorry). Gretchen.


30V633.01 Spontaneous identification of toy whirling-disk as a fan ? 10/17/79

Pointing to a part of her crib toy, a circular multi-colored piece that
spins in either direction when you twirl the knob in the middle, Peggy
identified it (without being asked) as a /faen/.

Peggy sometimes sucks on her middle fingers until they are literally
dripping. However, when I took her (dry) hand and barely nibbled the
tip of one finger, she withdrew with the comment [wet]. Gretchen.


3V0636.01 /cup…au.ehl/: adjective < further specification of idiom "owl-cup"; idiom degenerates and is reconstructed from more successfully competitive /kup/ in pre-standard order MAJOR EXAMPLE

Pointing to my own coffee cup, Peggy remarked /kuhp/, then after a
pause said /au ehl/ (owl). I have always identified this cup for Peggy as
my owl cup, and pointed out the picture on both sides. Gretchen.


3V0638.01 Holophrase sequences: [goody…scurry…food…treat] see note below: # 289 10/22/79

Peggy knows where Scurry’s goodies are kept, and often asks to give
her one (frequently giving it a nibble herself in transit). She has always
called it /fu/ (“food”). Today, as I got Scurry’s heartworm pill from
the shelf above, Peggy pointed up and said /guh/di (goodie)…/kur/di/
(Scurry)…/fu/ (food)…/trit/ (treat). This is, I think, the first time I
have heard her give a multiple identification of something, using
different words to apply to the same object. (The “cup”…”owl” seems
more like “mama…eye”, a description of an attribute rather than an
alternate definition.) Gretchen.


3V0638.02 Everything’s a pen if it comes out of my pocket. 10/22/79

Recently I’ve done some electrical work. I usually keep small tools in
my pockets — a screwdriver, for instance. when Peggy sat in my lap
this afternoon, she found in my shirt pockets a pen knife (she had seen
it before and knew it as a knife), a screwdriver (she decided “pen” after
examining it) and short pieces of wire (these also she called “pen”. I
named these objects – “screwdriver….. wire” Peggy imitated my names
for them, replaced them in my pocket. Withdrawing them again, she
said “pen” and “pen”, looking at each in turn.


3V0638.03 Naming: metalinguistic note: changes in the name of Scurry; Naming Miriam and LaRene /nehm/. 10/22/79

Over the past week or two, Peggy’s name for Scurry has shifted
somewhat from /kuhl/dah/ or /kuhl/dae/ or /kar/di/ (roughly). She
has shown a tendency also to call other dogs /dawg/ rather than
/kuhl/dae/. I have told her that Scurry is a dog, and what we call her,
her name, is Scurry. The last time I did so, Peggy repeated /naim/.
During the same time, she has been making an effort to name Miriam
also. (cf. naming Robby, 10-3; naming Miriam, 10-1). Her usual
rendition is “Mimi” or “Mamie”, with occasional attempts that sound
like Mary. While LaRene D. was here this past week, Peggy called her
/rin/. Gretchen.


3V0639.01 /gae/mr/ = grandmother (visiting); /teh/teh/=tickle. 10/23/79

Peggy’s grandmother has been visiting for the past several days. Today
Peggy names her /graemm’r/. Gretchen.


3V0639.02 [hold dog]:assembled command. 10/23/79

Going upstairs, Peggy paused at the bottom, then handed me her
“snoopy” pull toy and ordered [hold dog]. Gretchen.


3V0643.01 Verbal imitation + action:[Shame (on scurry; kicks her)] (10/27/79)

Today Scurry committed some minor fault against Peggy (such as
eating her cookie) and I scolded her. “Shame on you, Scurry,” Peggy
repeated [s’em] then kicked the dog neatly under the chin (She was
wearing shoes.) Gretchen.