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3V0245.02 P035 is where Peggy’s verbal imitation began 9/24/78

9/24 On reviewing P 35, we can see that Peggy began verbal imitation RIGHT THERE! During the experiment, I thought she did not imitate my vowel sounds. On closer review you can see her imitate /b/\b/ /b/\b/ /b/\b/ – /ae/ and /m/\m/. Peggy is now able to learn words! How shall we follow her development?


3V0283.02 Clear Example of Object Concept crudeness -> prefer gradual elaboration (11/01/78)

Relevance: This is another example , albeit a peculiar one, of Peggy having a very crude object concept. she obviously recognizes that objects have an “inside”: This blocks box does — for it can be opened and blocks taken out; her cups have an inside into which balls may fit. It should not be expected that with the discovery of object permanence one “inherits” some knowledge about how surfaces relate to substances. Peggy apparently knows that blocks can go into her box – But she may not yet realize that the lid must be open for the blocks to get inside; so I would interpret her banging them on the lid of the box as an attempt to get them inside. Similarly, when she frequently bangs a ball against the bottom of a cup, I interpret the action as an attempt to get the ball into the cup, but one which does not acknowledge the need to pass through an open face of the object.


3V0287.01 Assimilation of the pen to the pipe giving game. 11/05

GIVING — Out at the soccer field, I found Peggy in my arms and no pipe in my pocket. This does appear to be her favorite toy-with-daddy.) She was not dismayed, however, and took from my pocket this black, felt-tipped pen with which I am writing. (It looks a little like a pipe-stem, as it sticks above the pocket edge.) The interesting event followed Peggy’s identifying the object by mouthing — she held it out for me to take in my mouth. I did so, and she took it back soon.

RELEVANCE — Assimilation of a pen to a pipe-giving activity.


3V0293.01 Giving with chewing. Earlier precursor possibilities. 11/11

GIVING — I tried to work in the living room while keeping the fire going and an eye on Peggy. After discarding most potential toys from the small table I put them on, she charged about in her walker, waving the conical peg from her ring tower toy (this plastic piece was replaced with a cylindrical peg months ago). Peggy rolled over to me, smiled, chewed on her plastic peg, then offered an end for me to chew on. I accepted her gift, held the end in my mouth, and she took it back.

— refer to the initial section of the videotape P 41, where Miriam played ball with Peggy for the first time. Peggy quickly accepted the protocol.
Gretchen’s only suggestion of an earlier protocol possibly related to this is her request that Peggy give her a spoon. I much prefer the simpler finger-in-the-mouth game — where Peggy, waving her hand about sometimes striking an adult in the face or near the mouth, would have her fingers kissed, nibbled, or sucked.


3V0294.01 The IMPURE POINT and progressive structuration: 11/12/78

As observed more generally by Bruner, this infant Peggy started “pointing” around 9 months of age. (confer P40 and P41, I don’t know if earlier tapes contain unremarked examples of earlier pointing). Since the appearance, we have watched Peggy’s pointing more closely off camera. She does point with her index finger solus, but more commonly she points with her index, middle fingers extended and joined — as this morning she pointed at a fire I had built, saying at the same time /dae/dae/dae/dae/. Robby, now much engaged in cub-scouting, has been delighted to call to our attention the many times Peggy “give the cub scout salute.”

Peggy frequently sucks on her fingers and her impure point is often a wet one as well. A simple speculation is that Peggy is treating separately groups of fingers (that motor control is becoming gradually more discriminating — and that she is splitting out groups for distinct control which will finally result in specific, directed control of digits.) My scenario is that Peggy, sucking on two fingers, has the remaining two fingers closed with the thumb and when she removes her hand from her mouth to point, the command functions for the two fingers being jointly sucked. This speculation is ab initio unlikely because Peggy’s characteristic finger couple for sucking is the two middle fingers. I have asked Gretchen to watch Peggy’s finger sucking very carefully now before she does any pointing.

Relevance: I consider this hypothesis a good one to test because, joining as it does Berrill;s view of progressive structuration with observable phenomena, I might come up with a strong contrary view to Bruner’s offhand contention that the development of the pure point is “encoded in the genome.”


3V0300.01 Pointing: no physical carryover; use as a probe-> pointing: 11/18/78

Peggy always points with two fingers. This is so obvious to us we should not let it pass without saying. My earlier speculation that this related to her finger sucking pattern was wrong. The two fingers are a probe. She puts them in Gretchen’s mouth when offering fingers to be sucked; she scratches with them. (Frequently Peggy sucks the two middle fingers of her left hand and explores her head — say an ear with the two forefingers of her right hand.)


3V0309.02 Emergence of the Pure Point: pointing and eating: 11/27/78;

As we discussed Peggy’s experiments with her grandmother at the dinner table, when Peggy pointed with her forefinger alone, I remarked to Edie that such an action was what Bruner called “a pure point” and explained our argument at DSRE awhile back. In this context, Gretchen mentioned that though now Peggy points with two fingers, in this specific case her pointing had been preceded by using the forefinger to poke about in her mouth in an attempt to remove an unwanted bit of food. Gretchen added that this use of her fore finger was characteristic, much more common than poking about with several fingers or her right hand in her mouth.

Relevance: Can’t “the pure point” emerge as a melding of diverse actions under social direction thus: as finer sight control is achieved, with the digits of the later state more useful as a general probe, the refinement might proceed by discriminating one finger (the forefinger) from the cluster of digits — this pattern would show the sudden appearance of the pure point; alternately, the discrimination might be more balanced, the digits-as-probes splitting into two groups of two – this is seen in Peggy’s “impure point.” Getting solid bits of food out of the mouth is an activity which might generally favor using only one finger (it fits between gum and cheek better than the fist) in the most propitious circumstance, i.e. where the sensitive and knowledge based directions of behavior and interpretations of feedback are richest — in the mouth. If the mouth is the crucible in which digit control is developed and refined, its recognition is socially witnessed by its application, i.e. by its use in pointing. If we witness a new skill of single-finger action developed in poking around with food bit in the mouth transferred to probing behavior or to object indication, we are using a socially witnessed observation to notice an extension from a much more intrinsic area of experience. Isn’t it sensible to think that the use of the forefinger to point would be not merely witnessed but even directed by social examples?


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.


3V0355.02 Teasing Bob (1/12/79)

Yesterday, Peggy and I played on the spare basement bed. We traded pipe stems. I gave Peggy my pipe stem. She chewed on it then gave it back. Saying “thank you”, I nibbled at it and returned it, “Here.” This was repeated several times. Then Peggy, on giving the pipe stem to me, when I closed my teeth on it, she did not relinquish her grip — but pulled hard to take it from me. It was very clear, from Peggy’s delighted chortling, that she was making a joke, was TEASING me. Later on this same did, she did the same with Gretchen (and Robby took a picture). this incident was not the first time that Peggy has done this to me, but it was the most unmistakable in terms of her intent.


3V0358.01 Over the Head — body awareness (1/15/79)

Peggy has been passing objects behind her for some time (this appears in notes and on video tape). One early attempt with her rattle on a string was to get it over her head. She now does this regularly with whatever is remotely suitable – e.g. the pulling strings of her toy cart and noisy dog. Last night we played on the bed. Peggy found, atop a pile of laundry. her orange suit with duckling decorations (two plastic ducks over the heart). she first fingered and mouthed them then began pulling the suit over her head — with a permanent hand grasp at various extreme points. Although she paused occasionally to play “peek-a-boo” her main focus was on pulling the clothes-string over and past her head. she did so with considerable vigor and (I believe) confidence in the outcome. She, in fact, ended by going through a double dislocate several times to bring the clothes-string down to her bottom (This was done repeatedly.

Relevance: Here I see the completion of Peggy’s definition of her back parts that are beyond her sight and touch (In a way, she has proven she has no hump). Another way of looking at this is to say she is using the material to extend her tactile exploration of her body — even though she must interpose a ‘cognitive’ certainty of contact for the sense that her hand would return on a body part more accessible.


3V0361.02 Tantrums 1/18/79

TANTRUMS — Peggy has begun to show behavior that I would call tantrums. Typically she is in her highchair, trying to communicate something. As she gets more excited, her verbalizing becomes continuous and insistent. Offered things she does not want, she will grasp them with one hand and toss them over the side impatiently. She rocks her body back and forth, bending her head down far enough to whack herself on the chin. By this point, she has lost control of herself and is too worked up to be satisfied even if we figure out what it is that she wanted. As yet these tantrums are not excessively severe or prolonged. I was instantly reminded of Robby as a baby the first time Peggy acted this way, although I don’t recall details of his behavior.


3V0432.01 First example of symbolic thought: “doll-up” for herself (3/30/79)

Miriam has been making fantastic figures by cutting out paper. She
displays them by taping them up below my mantle motto at the second
story fireplace. Peggy caught sight of them and wanted to ‘see’ them.
She indicates this by a high pitched noise of delight //\/ and pointing,
with as many repetitions as necessary. When I carried her up to the
gallery of cutouts, Peggy was especially interest[ed] in the cutout of a
small person with a bow in her hair (the other figures appeared to be
more like hairy critters from some Dr. Seuss book). I gave it to her.
For some time, 2 days, Peggy has wandered about with the cutout doll
in her hand, dropping and neglecting it for a while but later picking it
up again.

Many times, Peggy has brought the cutout doll to me, made her
‘delight’ noise, and set [it] on my knee. My typical response has been
to pick it up, examine it, make some comment and hand it back to her.
Often this has angered or frustrated Peggy. I finally understood when
she began repeating this sequence with Foxy. (Here too my response
was to pick it up, pet it and give it back.) Peggy wanted me to pick her
up; she was using favorite objects to represent herself in
communicating to me what she wanted.

How do I know that’s true? I can’t be certain. Even with the difference
between her delight and frustration, [it] is not an adequate sign because
[she] would be happy to be picked up even if it were only my idea and
not hers. Claiming that Peggy uses a token for herself is thus
imputation — but an important one.

Relevance — If my interpretation is correct, this is the first incident
wherein I have witnessed symbolic thought. It is distinct from simple
naming in that here one object stands for and is operated on as a
representative of the referent. If Peggy is thinking symbolically NOW,
the use of language when it emerges later will be seen as an extension
of symbolic relations already in place.


3V0502.03 TIRADES; issue: forming technical terms for phenomena appearing in
observations (6/8/79)

Tirades — I am introducing this word as a technical term in the sense in
which it appears in French and Italian drama. The tirade is a long
speech or declamatory passage by a single actor directed to an
audience but not to other actors engaged in a play with him. A
conversation, in contrast, involves turn taking and more than one

Peggy has begun to speak in a specific way we will name a ‘tirade’. Let
me describe the first such that came to my attention (Gretchen has
witnessed this before. How often?) also because it is a lucid example of
specific aspects of the tirade. Peggy and I were in the bedroom. I sat
writing and she toddled past my chair, over to the sliding glass doors.
She began speaking, not with words but in ‘sentences.’ She continued
talking, without any sound patterns recognizable as signifying to me,
but with intonation patterns and caesurae characteristic of connected
discourse. She did NOT pause or interrupt her speech to give me a turn
(to be sure, I could have interrupted her). She did not, by intonation,
request my response via interrogation.

Was this babbling? No, for I take babbling to signify the repetition of
various sound[s] but with phonological repetition at the base. What
Peggy said sounded like speech in a foreign tongue (one cognate with
ours, i.e. I could not recognize any distinctive, non-English sounds in
her repertoire). Did her speech mean anything? It conveyed nothing to
me in the incident by the door. I can not say what it meant to her, if

Peggy continued from the glass door over towards the closet, on the
lower clothes rack of which are Miriam’s dresses. She began to handle
the sleeves, speaking the while, turning to me occasionally, poking
around some more to extract the sleeve of yet another dress. This
tirade went on for at least two minutes — a significant discourse.

Importance — in the tirade we see surfacing an important kind of
linguistic knowledge — that related to the prosody of connected
discourse and the roles of conversation, i.e. speech is something you
say about a topic to another person. Peggy gives evidence of a very
flexible system of speech. What is lacking is communication through
common reference, the use of words and phrases as socially shared

The recognition of the tirade as a kind of linguistic knowledge as yet
distinct from others permits us to imagine now how Peggy will learn to
speak — i.e. we can propose a first order theory of speech acquisition.
Let’s claim three different uses of language exhibit three distinct
knowledges about language. Let the tirade be one. Let the use of words
as labels for objects (e.g. foot, nose), classes of objects (intensionally
or functionally defined — fox versus trash can) and actions (e.g.
change, get down from high chair) be the second. This second use, in
extension beyond what adults recognize as words, obviously extends to
clichés by which reference is made. The third use of language I have no
name for yet, but by it I mean that knowledge that Peggy has already
elaborated upon her use of “that.” I need a good name for this.

Conceiving of Peggy’s language knowledge as in these three systems
promises some hope of being able to observe how and precisely when
her recognizable speech emerges and from what predecessors(i.e.
there may be more or they may be different from what I have
proposed here but this proposal seems simple enough to understand
and complex enough that it has a chance of reflecting what really goes

Because I deem the documenting of Peggy’s tirades important, I have
begun a series of audio tape records (on 6/9/79) wherein I will try to
capture her speech now before she assembles effective speech
performances. Her speaking is clearly well enough developed to be
interesting and she is outspoken enough that she may say valuable
things before she understands how reference, elaboration of (assembly
of) meanings and large scale discourse are integrated.


3V0516.01 Naming cars; relation of teaching and exploration (6/22/79)

Riding Back from graduation at MIT, Peggy frequently pointed at trucks
passing in the opposite direction with her squeals of delight. We
named them for [her] “truck,” “van.” We all over subsequent days
continued this on local trips where the distinction was often made
between trucks and cars (the latter seen more frequently). This
gradually became passé.

Today, Peggy sat in her car seat, nobody paying any particular
attention. As we passed any car either on the road or parked, she
would point and say /ka/, once for each vehicle.

Relevance — This incident touches upon the problem of language use by
others, learning to recognize and associate specific sounds and
objects, and then the appearance [of] those sounds as labels in speech
production. This case shows a lag of several weeks from the beginning
of the social instruction, its becoming boring to the ‘teachers.’ The
drop in interest by others perhaps inspired Peggy to extend herself
from recognizing correspondences to producing them herself. The
slight ‘vacuum’ gave her room and motive (?) to expand her
performance. If this be a typical pattern, it implies that the best
procedure for investigating Peggy’s growing knowledge and
competence — (best for bringing it out in explicit, public behavior) —
is to cut off any verbal prompting, letting the pragmatics of the
situation call forth whatever she is capable of.

Could this be the method of “natural instruction” — and an explicit
model for education. [marginal note, partly missing: …sensitive…this
sort of instruction]


3V0545.01 VERBAL LABELS: 07/21/79;

Peggy frequently points to or touches things saying “that” with an
intonation not signifying interrogation. I would say she uses the
standard declarative intonation except that it might imply an intention
— but that is precisely what we don’t know. Does she mean “Look at
that” ? “I recognize that” ? “What’s that ?” My uncertainty has led me
to rebound a question back at her: “what’s that ?” Her typical response,
for example when reading Scientific American and asked about a car, is
to locate and point to another instance of the thing, thus:

P: [pointing at car picture] That
B: What’s that ?
P: [flipping pages till she finds another picture of a car] That |

Does Peggy know that the word “car” ? Surely. But she prefers to
answer “what’s that?” by finding another instance in what she considers the same class.
Does Peggy use verbal labels to say what a thing is ? Yes, as this example makes clear.
The Hunt family lives adjacent to the beach on White Birch Lane. They
have cats and the cats have kittens — there have been as many as 30 at
one time in the house. Thus cats come down to the beach. They amaze
and delight Peggy. She has been told they are “cats”. Back at our house
we have no cats (Miriam’s allergies) and very few pictures of them.
Peggy sometimes uses a hand-me-down cup of Miriam’s with a three
kitten picture on it. She brought it to me for filling. I poured in juice.
Peggy pointed to one of the cats in the picture and said [cat] clearly and

We can see the process of specifying what a thing is as relating it to
another exemplar of the same class. The verbal label is used as a
substitute specifying-exemplar when no object specifying-exemplar is
An alternative interpretation that fits the observation: the label is used
in referring to a memory of a specifying-exemplar based on personal
experience (since that memory, though present, is essentially private, it
MUST be indicated indirectly). Thus Peggy specifies what the cat-on-
the-cup IS by locating another exemplar, her memory of the specific,
black, skinny cat she had petted earlier that day at the beach. The
function of the name is communicative (and serves others desires such
as confirming that the kitten-on-the-cup is properly identified)
precisely as is the more public procedure of locating another object
specifying exemplar.


3V0550.01 [is a stairs] (7/26/79)

Recently Peggy has been using the phrase “Is a X”. This use has been in
a context we would interpret as declaring the identification of a thing.
It may not mean that to Peggy. It may mean that and other things as
well, as this observation suggests.

I recently refinished a picnic table and assembled it in the basement.
Gretchen brought Peggy down with her when she came to see it. As we
adults talked for a while, Peggy toddled off down the hall. ” Hey Peggy.
Where you goin’ ?” I queried. [is a stairs] she replied.

This appears to be another example of an utterance whose non-
standard use implies a significant lack of distinction. Does Peggy have
only one phrase in her repertoire for question answering ? Does she
recognize only one question ? What might that be like ? “What are you
focused on now ?” To which her [is a X] is frequently the anticipated


3V0563.01 Scissors : 08/08/79;

Prospecting for playthings one place or another, Peggy came up with a
pair of children’s safety scissors. Even though they have rounded ends,
I feared Peggy could hurt herself by pinching her fingers and bade her
put them on my writing table. After putting them down, Peggy pointed
at them decisively and said, “That.” Turning to me, she repeated,
“That.” I responded, “Scissors. Those are scissors.” Peggy tried a
pronunciation which might have been /***/ (I distrust the memory as
too pat). I corrected pronunciation. “Yes, those are scissors.”
Peggy turned away and began playing with the sleeves and hems of
clothes hung in the closet behind my writing table. While doing so,
speaking entirely to herself and not attending to the writing table or its
contents, Peggy said [scissors].

Relevance: What we witness here is an infant either rehearsing or
practicing a new word. Did she recall it later? Of course. Gretchen
reports Peggy entered the girls’ room and seeing the same safety
scissors on Miriam’s bed, said, “Scissors.” Did she apply the name to
others? Indeed she did, naming as ‘scissors’ the crude kitchen shears
with which I cut a piece of twine.


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).


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.


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.


3V0591.01 [on]: draw a heart on my arm. 9/5/79

Another case of “on” meaning “put something on my arm” — Peggy and
Miriam both sat on my lap. I drew a heart on the back of Miriam’s
hand. Peggy held up her hand crying [on… on… on… ] so that I should
also draw a heart on her hand. She was contented when I did so.


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.”


3V0594.02 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


3V0647.01 Baby becomes a toddler on getting shoes. (10/27/79 & 11/1/79)

Peggy just got her first pair of shoes (blue sneakers) and appears very
pleased. I remarked to her that she is a big girl now and had her very
own shoes, so she would not have to use other peoples’, and Peggy in
reply identified herself as a [tod l’r].

“Are you a Baby ?” Gretchen told me of Peggy’s delight in her first pair
of shoes and that she deemed herself a “toddler.” Home from Boston
this evening (must have been 11/1 or 11/2), I hugged Peggy and asked
if she had been a good baby. She replied assertively, “toddler.”


3V0670.01 UP & DOWN: symmetrical relations; very IMPORTANT DATA on word-thing relations: she relates words and their structures of meaning
through reversibility as actions. (11/23/79)

Peggy wandered into the living room today with her “Bear Hug” in hand.
She held it high “Up” and put it on the ground “Down.” She repeated
this exercise several times — interrupting it once, I believe, with a hug
accompanied thus “hug”. Peggy was plainly excited by her knowledge,
and she was demonstrating it to me.

What do I make of this ? Here she was relating two words and their
structures of meaning through the reversibility as actions. She brought
together vaguely related terms into a specific relations of antithesis — a
primary kind of specific relations. This shows the level at which
Peggy’s mind is now progressively integrating.


3V0674.01 COUNTING (carrying two cookies) [one, two, seven]
ONE, TWO, SEVEN (11/27/79)

Peggy came into the study (living room) with cookies in hand (one
each) and said to me “two”. She continued beyond me, saying, “One,
two, seven”. [FOOTNOTE: Later note on date written up: 12/6 This
evening, I asked Miriam is she had been teaching Peggy to count
(which Miriam denies) after Peggy’s “funny counting”, as “one, four, ten”]

Peggy clearly has learned several number names – perhaps from
watching Sesame street on TV. But her organization of the knowledge
is quite non-standard. Her construction of the number names goes not
much further than “one, two, three and other bigger numbers”.


3V0683.01 CHIN: word learning and private review in play. (12/6-7/79)

Peggy found an old doll of Gretchen’s in the basement. She brought it
to Miriam (who was sitting in my lap) and me and began pointing to
and naming what struck her — the dress, the hair, face parts — eyes,
nose. I realized that Peggy didn’t know the word “chin” and asked her
to point to it. When she pointed to the nose, Miriam corrected her
“That’s the nose, Peggy. where’s the chin ?” Peggy continued pointing
at the doll’s head – looking at Miriam – while she gradually moved her
hand around, past the face, to the back of the head. We showed her
the doll’s chin, and she repeated the name.

This morning, alone in the study when I came in and saw her, Peggy
played at her toy box and, when she picked up the doll, pointed to the
chin and named it.


3V0683.02 Kicking and hurt feelings. (12/6/79 and earlier)

Peggy’s control over her supports, her legs, has been of apparent and
considerable interest to her, I recall her joy at being able to jump with
both feet when first she could and, most recently (12/20 ff.), her
tapping with one foot to music while standing [this has been an obvious
effort on which she concentrated, i.e. she would look at her foot while
doing it, whenever her cries of “Morning Dew” got us to play a
recording]. Early in December, Peggy worked at kicking – which got her
in trouble. Her kicking was dangerous because her target was most
commonly Scurry’s neck I feared that as Peggy became more skillful
she would hurt Scurry and get bitten. Thus Peggy’s kicking me was an
opportunity. She ran up to me and said “kick” and kicked me in the
shin. When she did it a second time, I smacked her bottom.

Peggy was shocked and her feelings were hurt. She clasped both hands
to her eyes, hiding the entire upper portion of her face while tears
streamed down, and went off to a dark corner. Thus her typical
response when refused or censured. It’s funny because he reaction is
most extreme to an often inconsequential rejection, but it’s also
touching that the smallest refusal is taken as a personal rejection.


3V0689.01 Conversation: adverbial phrase sans pause assembled from fragments of Gretchen’s phrases. (12/12/79)

Today Peggy inquired of me “Daddy ?”
G: “Daddy’s coming home… probably tonight.”
P: Back ?”
G: “Yes, Daddy’s coming back.” “Soon.”
Later on, I said something about Daddy, and Peggy responded, “Back soon.”

In one of our conversations, Peggy said something I did not catch.
I made a guess. “Lawler? Your name is Lawler.” She looked at me, then
repeated her statement complete with gesture so I should not again
misinterpret, “shoulder.” (pointing to the same). Gretchen.


3V0690.01 Harp and Guitar: naming shows assimilation of a new object to a familiar schema with spontaneous naming, social differentiation of relations, and her locking in the relationship. (12/13/79)

We were all watching the Marx Brothers movie “Monkey Business.”
(Note also that bob Despain recently gave Miriam an old Guitar of his.)
At one point, Harpo played a harp and Peggy said, “Guitar.” Gretchen
said, “No, Peggy, that’s a harp.” I continued, “That’s O.K., Peggy; it’s a
kind of guitar.” Peggy concluded definitely, ” ‘tar.”

Peggy’s naming reflect her assimilation of a new object to a familiar
scheme with spontaneous naming, social differentiation of the new
object from the old, recognition of their relations, and her “locking in”
the relationship. She has done this with other objects as well, but the
examples escape me now.


3V0696.01 [run…running]: effect of variant form in parent expression; interpreted by Peggy as correction. (12/19/79)

Peter Spier’s “London Bridge is Falling Down” is one of Peggy’s favorite
books. She really likes the page on which is “Iron and steel will bend
and bow.” Inevitably she points to the figure in the middle. “Run.”
(Gretchen responds:) “Yes, the man is running.” Today she pointed to
him and remarked, “run…running.” Gretchen.


3V0699.01 Peggy’s first arch. (12/22/79)

During many experiments, Peggy has played with the blocks shown in
this picture, has even been shown an arch (in P??) — but she exhibited
little interest in the blocks except as objects to pile and kick over.

At the end of P99, Peggy took these blocks and piled them by my
typewriter. After playing with other toys or books, Peggy said “blocks”
and began bringing these one by one to a pile in the middle of the
floor. She did her usual things – standing the skinny blocks on end up
on the “biggies” (so she calls them). As she brought the square blocks
over, one, by one, she piled them up. sitting down, Peggy set the large
rectangular on end and, after adding a small square to the other pillar,
capped the arch with a second large rectangle. “Nice?” she asked.

insert Arch picture here

I congratulated her, and took this picture, during the doing of which
Peggy once peered at me through the opening between the pillars.
Peggy did not intend to build an arch. Her peering through the opening
indicates she noticed a “special” thing about an arch. She had the
opportunity to construct other arches (as she continued playing with
the blocks) but she did not do so. The next day, Peggy once again got
out these blocks and built a single tower of squares which pleased her
as much as the arch.

Peggy has been fascinated by the picture above. She first referred to
her image as a “baby” but afterwards referred to it as “peggy.” (We
told her it was Peggy, those myriad times she has come to us requesting
to see the picture.)


3V0700.01 [apples…all gone] (12/23/79)

Peggy has been sick the last few days — running nose, cough and
excessive vomiting. We decided to regularize her diet by removing the
large bag of apple I recent bought from Bishop’s Orchard. Peggy has
been eating enormous quantities of apples (for one her size).
I removed that bag in the morning, and when Gretchen carried her into
the kitchen, Peggy could see the counter where they had been,
“Apples…all gone.”


3V0700.02 Knives and spoons: learning the word “fork”; called initially a spoon; when I named the object as fork, she called it a “foon”; counting incident. (12/23/79)

When the dishwasher cycle ended, I asked Miriam to put away the
dishes. Helpful Peggy was easily recruited. She started selecting
silverware from the dishwasher and carried it to the appropriate
cabinet. When she was unable to reach high enough to put the
silverware away, I became her assistant. Peggy ran back and forth.
“knife…spoon…spoon.” (The later name applied to forks as well. I
tried correcting her… “That’s a fork, Peg, not a spoon.” Peg brought me
the next fork and said as she gave it to me “foon”)

Peggy began bringing handfuls of silver and said as she handed them to
me, “one, three, four.” on the next trip, (no one speaking between) she
continued “one, three, another”.

Peggy clearly knows some number names, and that they apply to
counting and that a successor name “another” can be used in a
counting series.

Could “two” be left out of her series of well known number names
because of the homonym “too” which is richly meaningful for Peggy as
“me too” a word she uses very assertively ?


3V0703.01 [Mimi…mad…Mimi…fall down] Expressed speculation. (12/26/79)

Miriam has been playing with her old set of infant size legos which we
gave Peggy for a Christmas present. She has tried through much of the
day to construct a mobile dog (dragon?) and failed with amazing
consistency. Lately cries of “awg !!” have been coming down from the
living room.

Peggy was in the dining room having lunch with Gretchen and me. As an
exceptionally loud series of cries came from the living room, Peggy
said, “Mimi…mad…Mimi…fall down.”

Peggy could not see Miriam or what she was doing and had been sitting
at the table with us. She was speculating about what might have caused
Miriam to make such sounds of aggravation.


3V0706.01 Knock knock jokes: story used in ACR chapter of CECD. (12/29/79)

Jokes have been much in the air lately. I’ve worked on OCL: Inventing
Jokes. Miriam made me a joke book as a Christmas present. Peggy has
begun telling knock-knock jokes, apparently in imitation (without
Peggy: knock-knock ?
Victim: Who’s there ?
Peggy: 1. big smile and laugh – no words
Peggy: 2. knock knock ?
In this joke, it is clear that Peggy expects
a “who’s that?” [there ?]
response and enjoys the protocol.

What will she do if someone say another response to “knock-knock? ”
Dunno. But trying that may help us interpret whatever response she
makes to ungrammatical sentences.


3V0706.02 Puppy in Boston: default location of “gone” animate things (12/29/79)

Over the past several weeks, Peggy has often given evidence of
distinguishing between the sound of a bark and the word as the name
of the sound. One of the puzzles Peggy received for Christmas was a
five piece Puppy puzzle.

Peggy came crawling into the living room on hands and knees, and she barked, twice.
Bob. Did a puppy bark ? (a leading question about whether she was
pretending to be a puppy.)
Peggy: – no words – she looks around.
Bob: Did Peggy bark ?
Peggy: Puppy.
Bob: Where is it ?
Peggy: Gone.
Bob: Where did it go ?
Peggy (decisively) Boston.

Because Robby, Miriam, and I have gone to Boston (whence we have
spoken with Peggy on the ‘phone), that name has become her
default/prototype for a place where “gone” things have gone.


3V0709.02 [Mimi did it…Peggy’s] Good example; issues important; developing a vocabulary to describe observed phenomena. (1/1/80)

The situation to which the locution applies was Miriam’s making a
wrapped package, a present, and giving it to Peg. Peggy brought it to
me to show. what is significant here is the pause/connected structure
of the phrasing. There was a pause (represented by dots) between the
phrases. “did-it” I consider a single verbal element of specific meaning.
So also is “Mimi.” therefore, this phrase has a two element structure.
We need to develop and use a vocabulary to describe the phenomena
we become sensitive to. We need names for:
– the pauses between expressions in Peggy’s speech.
– the phenomenon of the deletion of that pause from speech (will others also discover, observe this ? a critical test.)
– a name for the meaning units clustered/bracketed by pauses but not identified with “words”
– the process(es) of mental reconstruction by which labels becomes nodes of a control structure elevation (here, in embryo, is my theory of language in the mind)


3V0718.01 Who’s there ? (Original notes on homely binding and lonely discovery) (1/10/80)

Peggy’s use of the knock-knock joke script has been monolithic — ie.
she would not respond in the victim’s role, nor would she continue in
any way no matter what response her victim made. This morning,
when I brought some coffee to Gretchen, I heard Peggy talking to
herself in the crib (Miriam was asleep). Peggy said, “Knock-knock.”
waited a while and then said, “Who’s there?” That is, she was clearly
rehearsing the entire joke script of her knowledge. The standard use of
rehearsing implies her objective of later performance. I mean no such
thing, but instead that Peggy was reciting both sides of a dialogue —
because she was alone, had no one to interact with.

Why is this significant ? Later that day, I said to Peggy, “Knock-knock,”
and she responded “Who’s there?” Subsequently, Miriam also noticed
that for the first time in her hearing that Peggy performed the victim’s
role. This seems a very early example of what I now see as a
fundamental process of learning which relates the elements of cultural
knowledge and indicates construction (see workbook, mid-January
1980). This process is the same as Miriam’s playing both sides of a
game in tic tac toe. Through homely processes of social binding scripts
are “memorized” from one role’s perspective. Through a later process
of lonely discovery, the multiple roles of a script are articulated. This
is a theory of enculturation and construction at a level of generality
comparable to Darwinian evolution as opposed to more nearly
computational theories of population genetics – but still it is a
beginning in an area currently too vague and unspecific.


3V0720.01 [fork…hurts…arm…me]: Peggy’s most complex phrase construction before the upsurge of pause deletion and appearance of anchoring with variation in her verbal productions (1/12/80)

Peggy stabbed herself with the tines of a fork. I can’t recall whether
she was in her high chair or helping unload the dishwasher, but her
words and pauses are certain. I consider this an extended example of
Peggy’s most complex phrase construction before the upsurge of pause
deletion and anchoring with variation in her verbal productions.


3V0720.02 [joke… knock-knock]: verbally formulated classification based on a single exemplar. 1/12/80)

We all sat at table this evening. Either Gretchen and I teased and all of
us laughed, Peggy too. I believe I asked her what she laughs about (the
joke was one she could not comprehend). Peggy responded, “joke…”
and then continued “knock-knock.” Here is a clear example of verbally
formulated classification.


3V0728.01 [Robby…lookit] vocative + verb example (plus others) (1/20/80)

Another example of a vocative-verb to element structure. Peggy, just
now, (1/29/80) came out with another, more directly comparable to
‘Mimi…did-it’), she carried a book to Robby and said ‘Robby, do-it.’


3V0728.01 CAUSE – toilet training; cause, agent, effect (1/20/80)

We have tried to interest Peggy in using a small toilet. She plays with it,
pushing around the house, chasing the dog with it, and so forth –
investigating the removable pot and peering at it every which way. Now
she knows the clothes come off before using the toilet and that one sits
down over the hole, but doing so distresses her, perhaps frightens her
about falling through. (She sits on it only with the lid down.)
Another aspect of this toilet training situation has been my suspicion
(based on my own recollections from infancy) that Peggy might not
know that SHE shits in her diapers, ie. she might not connect at all any
activity or somatic feelings of hers with the appearance of feces in her
diapers. Recently I had asked her, when she requested a diaper change
and it was filthy, whether she had shit in her diapers. She uniformly
answered ‘no.’ Today she came over and said, ‘Diaper change…shitty.’
‘Did you shit in your diapers ?’ I asked. When Peggy answered, ‘Yes,’ I
continued ‘Why didn’t you shit in the toilet ?’ Peggy replied, ‘ ‘Cause.’


3V0733.01 [chin hurts] Variation anchor, abetted by questioning. (1/25/80)

Peggy somehow hurt herself, and when asked what was the matter,
replied, ‘Chin hurts.’ A few days previously, as I was changing her
diaper, I became aware that she was talking away.
P : ‘…neck….hurt (or hurts, I could not notice)…’
G : ‘Your neck hurts, sweety ?’ I asked.
P : ‘No…tomac’
G : Oh, your stomach hurts ?
P : Knee
At first, I was confused by this litany, thinking her neck hurt, then
assuming her locution meant ‘I hurt my neck at some time in the past
(or my neck hurt…) But it seems that this was an example of variation
on an anchor, abetted by my questioning to find if anything was
seriously wrong. Gretchen.


3V0747.03 Number/temporal names (2/8/80)

Miriam tells me she has asked Peggy the time and Peggy responded
“eleven.” The answer was not correct but was significant as a number
name. Peggy may have been imitating a specific response heard from
some one else in response to the same question.

Miriam asked again of Peggy, in my hearing, the time. Peggy responded
“Eleventeen.” This is clearly a made up number name from appropriate
kinds of elements.m


3V0749.01 Words and Numbers; primary roots of discrimination (2/10/80)

Miriam and Peggy play with my yardstick a lot (a free one from a local
hardware store, it has the measure and advertisements on it). Miriam
marches around with it on her shoulder: “hup, two, three, four; hup…”
Peggy marches too, “hup, two, three; hup, two, three.”

Today she LOOKED at the yardstick, then pointing at the symbols as she
clambered along it, said ( in pointing at the numbers) “eleventeen” and
at the words “Peggy Lawler.”

What this means is that she is interpreting alpha-numeric symbols
already — in a very non-standard and idiosyncratic way — but she is
reading the symbol strings as meaningful already.