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3V0344.1

3V0344.01 Words (foot) 01/01/79

WORDS — I have been saying to Peggy “Where’s your foot?” and she will respond more or less quickly, holding up her foot, pointing, and saying “Da!” “Hand” generally brings out clapping. “Nose” pointing, or more often grabbing for my nose.

3V0351.1

3V0351.01 Comprehension limitations.01/08/79

COMPREHENSION LIMITATIONS — Right before New Year, Bob got the dishwasher repaired and reinstalled. Saturday [?] morning it was running for the first time in 10 days. Coming into the kitchen with Peggy, I listened to the sounds and murmured, “Hurray for the dishwasher.” Peggy immediately raised her hands to her head in her imitation of the “boxer’s handclasp” she learned from her grandmother at Thanksgiving (on cue of hurray for Peggy).

3V0357.2

3V0357.02 Reading 1/14/79

READING — When I tired of pipe play and put them away, Peggy pointed to the book about puppies Miriam has given her. Peggy played contentedly for a minute or a few — then she gave the book to me. I thanked her, admired the book, and returned it to her. She was not happy. She kept pointing to the animals (saying /daet/) and I responded “puppy”. On the various pages distinguishing between the puppies and other objects by name and intonation as well. Thus “puppy, puppy, puppy, telephone.” Peggy kept giving the book to me, and I continued returning it. Her frustration grew. I finally caught on. Peggy wanted me to “read” to her. She was contented when I held the book before her, turning the pages when I thought her ready, naming the objects she pointed to. Gretchen has “turned the pages” with Peggy and Miriam has “read” to her.

RELEVANCE — Because books appear to offer an interesting and flexible extension for Peggy’s new interest in pictures I feel we should capture now the style each of us “readers” brings to our book-focused playing with Peggy.

Further, books have the interesting property of being boxes without hollows. I have seen Peggy open a book, put in a teething ring,, then try to close the cover on it. Perhaps we can have her contrast the two in another part of P 51.

3V0361.1

3V0361.01 Two words 01/18/79

TWO WORDS — Peggy has long joined /thaet/ with pointing to call another’s attention to some out-of-reach object. We usually interpret this to mean that she wants to either eat, touch, or mouth the object. Peggy likes to take things to herself — cookies or picture frames. The smaller ones we give her; she mouths them and turns them over for inspection. Yesterday, for the first time, she used in my hearing what I consider an intensive, the word /hae/, by which she appears to mean that she is not merely calling our attention to a target object but that she wants to take it to herself (and soon!).

The forms of her expression vary from strings of /thaet/’s to /hae/thaet/ (two sounds, equally stressed, both heavy; level intonation) to a more staccato form of /hae/thaet/ where the first sound has shorter duration and is unstressed.

The relative frequency of the 3 forms is about 3 to 1 for the first to second with the third being very rare.

RELEVANCE — It appears that approaching one year Peggy is extending a proto-holophrastic into a two proto-word phrase. Why? Is putting one thing after another hard? Doesn’t she frequently hear in response to her ‘thating’ [?]

– do you want that?

– want to have that?

– you can’t have that!
Indeed she does. If stress and tone of the last two sounds are frequently heavy and common respectively.

3V0366.1

3V0366.01 Knowing What Peggy Wants 01/23/79

KNOWING WHAT PEGGY WANTS — Peggy says /∂aet/ and it’s clear she wants something, but it is not clear to us. She says /∂aet/ so much, we might suspect she doesn’t want any particular thing but merely enjoys pointing, talking, and being carried around. Such is not the case at all.

I see many of Peggy’s new tantrums deriving from our not understanding what she wants. An incident at lunch today provides a clear example. After feeding, Peggy’s tray was its usual mess. When she complained and carried on, Gretchen picked up Peggy and gave her some orange juice at which she had pointed and spoken of. Now Peggy started /∂aet/-ing in earnest, many times, with increasing intensity. Gretchen offered Peggy a cookie — her favorite food — but Peggy would have none of it. When she seemed to be pointing in the general direction of her tray, Gretchen held her within reach of it. From the clutter there, Peggy picked out a small piece of toast. She did so immediately, directly, and with precision. I am certain Peggy wanted THAT bit of food before she was near the tray at all.

RELEVANCE — How absolutely useful to Peggy would be learning names. How useful to us as well, specifically in restoring relative calm and quiet at meal time especially, would be Peggy’s learning naming or even some other specification procedure — e.g. we could touch things and she indicate whether it was what she wanted or not.
It has not previously been so clear how great a gap there is between Peggy’s specific desires and her inability to specify what she wants.

3V0371.1

3V0371.01 Three words: “I want that”. A well formed English sentence; progressive structuration 1/28/79

THREE WORDS — When Peggy has requested this or that, a common response has been the question “You want that?” If we see her smile when we are pointing to a specific object, we give it to her. Today at lunch, trying to communicate to her obtuse parents that she wanted a cookie, Peggy pointed to the counter where they are normally kept (through a table full of other possible desiderata) and repeated with pointed and increasing insistence /ae/aen/∂aet/, the central syllable at a rising tone and stressed.

RELEVANCE — Peggy now owns three verbal forms for saying the same thing. /∂aet/, /hae/∂aet/, and /ae/aen/∂aet/. She uses them to express her desire for some object to other people. She knows, and expects others to know, that these signifiers express her desire. She knows what they are FOR; and she uses them interchangeably — the distinction of impute to her usage (to the extent they are not absolutely interchangeable) is that the more sounds she says, the more emphatic is the pronouncement.

We hear three words in what Peggy utters. I make no claim or implication that Peggy understands words at all. However, what is most striking in this last phrase is that Peggy has uttered (albeit inarticulately) a well formed English sentence with terms for subject, verb, and object. Of course, she does not know THAT. The next development to be expected is her conjunction of naming with this primitive verbal object (to which she relates much as we adults to an unanalyzed idiom), probably in some such sequence as the following (based on the use of naming for further specification and the deletion of the “unnecessary” pronoun /∂aet/.
/object-name/…/ae/aen/∂aet/object-name/…–>> /ae/aen/∂aet/object-name/
/ae/aen/∂aet/object-name/…–>> /ae/aen/object-name/
i.e. the development of structure is progressive discrimination, conjunction, and simplification.

3V0380.1

3V0380.01 Need for specificity expands repertoire of signifiers 2/6/79

Peggy drives [us] to distraction. A few weeks ago when her talk was all /[th]aet/[th]aet/ and her pointing restricted to pictures, the talk was endurable, but now that it is coupled with specific objectives Gretchen and I are subject to streams of /[th]aet/ and /hae/[th]aet/ and [WANT THAT]. Peggy clearly knows what she wants; when we offer her something not her desire she turns away. This move expresses her rejection and exacerbates our frustration. She turns back with intensified commands: /hae/[th]aet/- hae/[th]aet/. WHAT does she want?

We ALL need to have Peggy discover the use of names. She appears to have begun making distinctions in her specification of things./[th]aet/ is now interlaced with /zit/. I believe her use of /zit/ derives directly from our questioning as we search for what she wants. “Is it this?…Is this it?” (/iz/[th]is/it/ on repetition –> /iz/[th]i/zit/). The distinction (probably to be a transient one) is that Peggy now applies /zit/ to nearby things and /[th]aet/ to those far away. (Note that we most frequently ask “Is this it?” about objects within our reach on the table; since her arrowroot cookies are kept on a remote counter, they are rarely touched when we ask, “Is this it?”)

3V0380.2

3V0380.02 Prosodic features dominate sounds in meaning 2/6/79

Peggy’s name — At supper this [evening] Gretchen and I discussed with Robby what words Peggy knew. The question arose when Robby asserted that surely she knew her name. I argued that her response when I said “Peggy” was to the prosodic features and not to the name as such. I said “Peggy” in the tone in which I censure our dog Scurry — and Peggy did not respond. I asked Robby to call her using any other name. He tried “Murgatroyd”; Peggy looked at him and smiled. Going further, I called “bazz fazz”. Peggy turned again. I stopped his going further.

3V0384.1

3V0384.01 More verbal specificity; productive uses of signifiers 2/10/79

Returning from a three day trip to Boston, I have Peggy in my lap more than usual. At one point, she indicated she wanted Miriam’s belt which lay near by on the floor: /zIt//zIt/. I gave it to her. Peggy chewed it over, and because I figured she might poke herself with the buckle closer (the rod going through the holes in the leather), I fastened the buckle. Peggy took the loop and put it behind her head, then she put it over her head [to] bring it down to her neck.

Casting the belt aside eventually, she pointed to a toy on the floor: /zIt/ /zIt/. I got for her the Snoopy dog (a pull-behind noise maker). Peggy pointed at the dog’s eye — and then at the buckle on its collar. It looks quite similar to the larger one on the belt she had just cast away. When did Peggy notice the similarity? Was it not when she put the belt around her neck as a collar? (The [dog] had been lying upside down; I believe the collar was not visible when Peggy showed she wanted the dog.)

Peggy next turned her attention to my writing table. The clutter thereon demands specific reference. She began /zit/ and kept it up while I offered her first one object, then another. She wanted neither one pipe stem nor the other. After three or four trials she burst out: /thaet//iz//zit/. (The unaccented syllable iz may have been no more than a falling tone on /thaet/.) I turned to Gretchen across the room. “Did you hear that? Did you hear her say ‘That is it’?” Gretchen responded, “That’s what I heard her say.”

Relevance — I judge this last observation to be an important one precisely because it shows Peggy assembling a new grammatical form, i.e. we interpret the utterance as [THAT IS IT]; its genesis is probably an intensive agglomeration of signifiers, i.e. /thaet/ and /zIt/. When she learns some names, we will expect this emphatic agglomeration to produce such phrases as /pen//zIt/, /paip//zIt/, and /thaet//dog/.

3V0384.2

3V0384.02 Usage extension; second person agent of imperative 2/10/79

Peggy and I have passed pipe stems back and forth for quite a while. Long ago we began the giving game. That is, when she offered a pipe stem (or some other object to me) I would take it, say “Thank you” and return it with the statement “Here.” At times Peggy has wanted me to take a pipe stem from her when I have been reluctant (recall her still on-going cold); in such cases, she has tried to simply push the pipe stem end into my mouth.

Peggy has used /hae/[th]aet/ as an emphatic form meaning “I want to have that.” She has also used it to mean “I have that.” Sitting in my lap today, she took a pipe stem and held it out to me. /hae/[th]aet/ she said in a commanding voice. (The declarative “I have that” has a different, lower level of stress.) Here the extension of this imperative usage is from the implicit agent being Peggy to its being me — the person spoken to.

3V0384.3

3V0384.03 Salience of her name in her interpretations; vocative “dada” 2/10/79

Peggy will respond to a voice calling with an intonation like that used in calling her name. Evidence of her understanding names can be [of] other sorts. The rare example from P53 [Egg Peggy] is one strong sign that her own name is a significant potential meaning for her to which she will try to fit parts of an utterance she is trying to understand. A second strong point of evidence is Peggy’s use (in the future, if not convincingly yet) of other’s names. The closest approach so far was in this incident today.

Gretchen returned from a downtown trip. She brought in Peggy and left her sitting on the floor in the infant seat while she returned to close the door. Peggy was most unhappy in the seat and even more so to be abandoned. As I walked across the room before her she cried out /dae/dae/ – /dae/dae/ — and smiled broadly when I turned to her.

3V0385.1

3V0385.01 Peggy’s nose; two element phrase from idiom variation 2/11/79

Peggy sat on my lap, and Miriam, feeling left out, demanded the same privilege. Gretchen has been naming face parts with Peggy for months and Peggy cooperates by reaching out to touch her nose when Gretchen asks, “Where’s my nose?” Miriam asked, “Peggy, where’s my nose?” Her use of “Peggy” was a calling and the word nose was emphasized. Miriam continued, after Peggy’s response, “Where’s Daddy’s nose?” Peggy again touched Miriam’s nose. Miriam said, “No!” and pointing at my face, said, “Daddy’s nose.” Miriam next asked, “Where’s Peggy’s nose?” When Peggy pointed to Miriam’s face, she said, “No. That’s my nose. Where’s Peggy’s nose?” Peggy turn to me and reached out an finger to me. “No. That’s Daddy’s nose.” Miriam continued, “Where’s Peggy’s nose?” Peggy then brought up her hand to her own nose, and Miriam gave her a hug and praised her discovery of her own nose.

Relevance — This may or may not be Peggy’s “discovery of her own nose” (I tend to doubt it is). What I see important in this incident is an example of a process of meaning refinement which requires the joint handling by Peggy of two words, one of which is treated by the speaker as variable, i.e. what Peggy handles as an idiomatic utterance is required to be interpreted as a two- element phrase. The guidance Peggy receives in this setting, both explicit and implicit (the latter by using new terms ‘Daddy’ and ‘Peggy’ with which she is very familiar) is so strong as to be instruction. The requirement for analyzing the idiom to parts and varying one is a very primitive introduction of structure, an impressing of structure upon an idiom. Peggy’s trial and error process of interpreting “Where’s Peggy’s nose?” exemplifies how the differentiation of meaning and the development of structure comprehension is an empirical learning.

3V0387.1

3V0387.01 Peggy varying elements of a transient game; like phrases 2/13/79

Wooba wooba — Peggy hates to have her face washed or her nose wiped. But she does like to take things out of my shirt pockets. Her usual pocket-picking targets are pens or pipe stems. Today, with my having two shirt pockets, she discovered a handkerchief in the second (I was prepared because her extended cold has left her nose frequently run[ny]). I was not happy when Peggy extracted the hanky and held it high. I took it from her, rubbed her mouth and nose, exclaiming ‘wooba wooba’ and returned the hanky to my pocket. Peggy was delighted. A new game! She again extracted the hanky, and the sequence was re-run about ten times, at which point I gave up. Peggy took the handkerchief. When I failed to respond, she looked puzzled at first, then drew the hanky up to her nose with a big smile. I laughed and replaced the hanky in my pocket. Peggy once more extracted the hanky. When I did nothing, she lifted the hanky and put it against my mouth.

Relevance — After the incident of “Peggy’s nose”, I find this little story striking testimony to the coherence of the kinds of actions and transformations of meaning of which Peggy is now capable. It was Peggy’s idea to generalize her game (to keep it going) by varying the agent; it was her idea to generalize immediately the patient of the action (when she wiped my nose) although this was not required to keep the game going.

3V0398.2

3V0398.02 Identifying toys and pictures of foxes; classification possible insight;
(nominal date 2/28/79 added)

Late February – Foxes: (a reconstruction) Before videotape session P57 (a day or two before) Gretchen sat with Peggy on the couch in the living room. Gretchen was ‘reading’ Baby Animals. Peggy pointed at the Fox on the cover and said [that that]. Gretchen responded, “That’s a fox, Peggy, a fox.” Peggy turned and pointed to the picture of Vixen and pup and on turn, to the Fox painting. In both cases, Gretchen confirmed her judgment, “Yes Peggy, that’s a fox too.”`

3V0398.3

3V0398.03 First introduction to pictures of herself. (3/01/79)

Late February – Pictures and Names (a reconstruction) Carrying Peggy back from the balcony, when she pointed to some pictures and requested them, I turned Peggy to pictures of her hanging above the balcony entry. I was trying to distract her attention to pictures beyond her easy reach as mine). That is the place where pictures of Peggy are hung. “See, that’s a picture of Peggy. That’s you, Peggy.” Here, I pointed to her after — both pictures where she, in her familiar robe, is held on her mother’s lap. From being cranky and demanding, Peggy brightened immediately. My impression was that she understood that picture was of her. (It is not at all clear whether she assumes all baby pictures are pictures of her or not — but most of the baby pictures in my room are of Robby and Miriam.)

We continued out into the hallway. Stopping at the hall mirror, I said. “Peggy, see, there’s Peggy.”

Relevance: I note this incident as a possible precursor in kind (though I do not claim this is, in fact) of Peggy’s catching on in an articulated way to the representative character of pictures. (I’m not sure what I mean by this.)

3V0403.1

3V0403.01 “dog” used as a verbal label for Scurry (3/01/79)

Peggy was downstairs in the kitchen with Gretchen. I sought a book
from our shelves on the balcony of the living room. Peggy entered
downstairs and crawled over to the sliding glass doors. (These are a
window on the world at her level. For several weeks she has been
looking over the porch to the woods and playing peek-a-boo and put-
over-my-head with the curtains.) Peggy was “alone”, i.e. she did not see
me on the balcony and I watched from the time she entered. Scurry
barked (she was tied to a tree at the woods’ edge). Peggy pointed to
her and said /dog/ i.e. [DOG]. She did not repeat it.

Relevance — Peggy clearly used /dog/ as a verbal label, a name, for
Scurry. Her use shows no communicative intent to any other person.
Gretchen informs me she has been referring to Scurry as a “dog”, i.e.
whenever Peggy points at her, Gretchen typically says, “That’s Scurry.
She’s a dog.”

3V0410.1

3V0410.01 Activity –> social game; flexible roles and naming things (03/08/79)

Jigging — Jumping up and down rapidly, i.e. bending at the knees while
holding on to something, has been one of Peggy’s favorite actions since
she became able to stand. She does that by herself at the couch. She
jumps up and down in my lap when I play chop-sticks at the piano. I
often play Irish instrumental music on records. When I do, Peggy
enjoys my dancing around with her, bouncing her up and down.

One night at supper, such jigs were playing in the background. Peggy
started bouncing in her seat and waved both arms at once. She looked
at me. I imitated her gesture. She enjoyed that imitation tremendously
and now both older children imitate her flapping arms. This gesture
(which she will still begin spontaneously when she hears a favorite jig
start) split off from the activity as a content for the imitative game.

This evening at supper, [as] Peggy led Robby and Miriam in her jigging, I
told the older children to stop flapping (to make the scene less like
bedlam). Miriam, holding both hands aloft, began opening and closing
her hands. Peggy, seeing neither child following her lead, noticed
Miriam’s activity and began imitating it. Subsequently, I asked both
older children to hold up one arm instead of two. Peggy did not imitate
the one arm form.

Relevance — This set of incidents records how an expression of simple
activity boils over into a social interchange/game. Peggy’s flexibility of
roles, with quick shift from leader to follower and back, is what I note
here. It may be that just this sort of role reversal is implicated in
learning names of things when someone else specifies the name.

3V0426.1

3V0426.01 Expression: verbal imitation (3/24/79)

Peggy was very crabby this evening before dinner. At one point Robby
got out some cheese and was sitting at the table with it. Peggy walked
toward him, crying insistently. I told Robby to offer her a piece of
cheese, and he did so. As she reached for it, Peggy said, [OH BOY
CHEESE]!

At dinner, I mentioned something about cauliflower, and Peggy echoed
[CAULI…]

3V0432.1

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.

3V0434.1

3V0434.01 Non-standard use of name ‘bird’ (04/01/79)

We have a “make-it/bake-it” cardinal hanging high on the dining room
window. Peggy is much interested in it, and Gretchen often informs her
that it is a bird. Peggy’s verbal imitations are pretty good. Sometimes
sound turns out more like /b/\p/ or /b/\d/, but it’s quite easy to
distinguish from her other vocalizations. Peggy has begun applying that
label to other things, the outstanding example of which is her pointing
to some Chinese watercolors high on our bedroom wall and repeating
“bird.” One picture is of yellow chrysanthemums and blue butterflies;
the second might be red-bud flowers and bees.

Importance — Peggy applies the label “bird” to “colorful-things-high-
up.” It is not at all clear that she would so name a living bird. Let’s
hope we see.

3V0440.1

3V0440.01 A declarative sentence <[That's Scurry. That's it.]> (04/07/79)

Scurry looms large in Peggy’s world. She knows her name is Scurry; she
thinks of the fox pictures as dog pictures (especially note the
videotape where she first makes that identification). Today Gretchen
asked me, “Bob, did you hear that?” (I hadn’t.) “Peggy said, ‘That’s
Scurry.'” I remarked that it would be nice if it were true, if that’s what
she had said and meant. Here Scurry obliged by walking into the room.
Peggy pointed and said [That’s Scurry. That’s it.]

Importance — This use appears to be an elaboration of Peggy’s
imperative /[th]aet/ and /hae(v)[th]aet/ into declarative use.

3V0442.1

3V0442.01 Verbal imitation of a “word to remember”: <[Stool]> (4/9/79)

Peggy’s verbal imitation is quite well developed. An everyday example.
I sat in my chair with a cup of coffee on a high stool beside it. Peggy
came along and started to shake the stool. “No, no, Peggy, don’t touch
the stool!” “Stool,” Peggy said to herself and toddled off.

3V0453.1

3V0453.01 A question: [What that is ?] interior dialogue: (4/20/79)

Peggy toddles around the bedroom-study while Gretchen and I work on
the thesis. Today, she sat by the fireplace in a pile of dried leaves and
wood chips, she spoke to herself [what that is ?] as she patted a “dust
mop” then gave her own answer [broom].
Importance: a number of points revolve around this performance.
1. the non-standard word order is a puzzle. when we ask Peggy the
names of things, we ask “what’s that ?” It is striking that she
introduces a copula in place of recognizing its contraction in “what’s”
If she hears “what that from us. why should she add “is” ?

2. She could have said something else, which I mistook for [what that
is?] Yes. She could have said [what that it.] – a construction similar to
[that’s scurry. That’s it.] Perhaps something else.

3. Here we have an example surfacing of interior monologue in a query
format — perhaps interior dialogue would be a better term.

3V0465.1

3V0465.01 “Have Peggy”: adults adjust speech to her understanding (5/early/79)

Peggy has wanted to be picked up a lot lately. Her way of indicating this
is very annoying — she typically comes to where Gretchen is, grabs
Gretchen’s pants leg, and wails. Could we get her to say ‘Up’? No.
Gretchen began saying “Have Peggy?” and continues doing so, even
though this has not inspired Peggy to say what she wants.

Importance — this documents the way we change our speech to try
communicating so that Peggy can understand. There is no implication,
of course, that such speech changes make any difference.

3V0483.1

3V0483.01 [That’s a pup] (5/20/79)

Robby’s National Geographic World subscription brings other materials
beside the magazine into the house. Beside the vixen and pup poster
(and others) occasionally a small set of ‘cards’ arrives. one recent set
was of various types of dogs. Peggy looked at one with two basset
hounds. “What’s that?” I asked. Peggy paused and replied [That’s a
pup].

3V0485.2

3V0485.02 Game-agent flexibility precursor to language (5/22/79)

Toe grabbing — We grownups tickle Peggy (so do the older children)
and she enjoys it. She has begun to try tickling us in return. Her
attempts are good imitations although not very effective. (She holds
her hand over a patch of skin and scratches [with] all her fingers one
after the other.

Another form of activity in which Peggy has ‘turned around’ the agent-
patient relation is ‘toe grabbing.’ Ofttimes when she carries Peggy past
me, Gretchen stops for a moment. Since she is usually standing and I
am sitting, Peggy’s foot is about hand height and it is my custom to
tickle her foot or grab her foot and wiggle it gently. Early in May, Peggy
toddled over to my chair, grabbed a hold of my big toe and shook it.
She looked at me expectantly, so I made loud noises of surprise. Peggy
was delighted. She has kept up this toe grabbing and has even attacked
my feet from under the dining room table. This apparently delights her
and is quite reminiscent of her cranking Scurry’s tail (which she
enjoys, doubtless, more than the dog does).

Importance — the turning-around of agent-patient relations is an
important precursor in action to structural flexibility in the use of
language.

3V0491.2

3V0491.02 [Mommom, mo] (05/28/79)

Waving her milk cup at me, Peggy said, “Mommom, mo’.” (unclear if
that last meant ‘more’ or ‘milk’)

3V0493.1

3V0493.01 Fragmentary sound knowledge contrast to prosodics (5/30/79)

Diaper = /dai/ — Peggy needed changing this morning — so I believed —
and Gretchen upstairs agreed to do it. Peggy was complaining loudly,
toddling around and smacking her plastic pants. To make certain, I
asked, “What do you want, Peggy?” She replied [die] (/dai/) and
toddled over to the stairs eagerly.

When we got upstairs, Gretchen was folding laundry. I asked her not to
use any of her normal phrases. She asked something like “What shall
we do, Peggy?” Peggy, grabbing her plastic pants and smiling, said /gi/
and ran (at a fast toddle) into her bedroom.

Importance — It is very difficult to capture the sense of an infant’s
knowledge of names in speech production. These two incidents focus
on a situation where Peggy’s meanings were clear to me from the
pragmatics. In her attempts to respond to questions, we see her
produce parts of sound patterns we associated with the name ‘diaper’
and the action ‘change’. This very fragmentary speech knowledge
contrasts amazingly with the performances which witness Peggy’s rich
prosodic knowledge described in the later notes under the heading
TIRADEs.

3V0494.1

3V0494.01 Speech as intensifier of interactions; interrelations of idioms, names,
prosodics (5/31/79)

HOW’S THAT? (cf. toe grabbing, 5/22) — Peggy continues to grab my
foot and shake it when I prop one leg up over the other. She laughs
delightedly whenever I cry out in surprise and mock distress /ah ah/.
Sometimes I don’t respond as quickly as she would like and thus, I
believe, Peggy has begun to address me when she grabs my toe. She
asks (so I hear it) [HOW’S THAT?] as she shakes my foot and I respond
“Terrible.” Peggy repeats the transaction a few times then goes off.

Importance —
1. Peggy is applying speech as an intensifier of our interactions, an
additional way to gain my attention when contact isn’t sufficient.

2. Does she say “How’s that?”, an idiom context-appropriate, or does
she say “Have that?” If the latter, it is a variation on her well known
and bi-directional imperative “Have that!” I hear the former and
respond in a consistent way. It could be she has gradually
differentiated this new formula from her earlier well known form and
my mis-interpretation.

3. I noticed myself, as Gretchen paused near me taking Peggy to bed
last night, shaking her foot and saying “How’s that?” I expected her to
respond “Terrible.” (N.B. This was not a planned experiment — just
what I noticed myself doing.)

4. We should ask how this sort of verbal or speech knowledge relates to
Peggy’s knowledge of names and her knowledge of prosodics. Should
we not expect to see from the interaction of these three kinds of
knowledge the sudden emergence of discourse? I believe we have here
the real solution to the puzzle of the sudden acquisition of ‘syntactic’
knowledge by the infant.

3V0494.2

3V0494.02 [That’s a good girl] (5/31/79)

I was working in the kitchen. Peggy went around to the stairs, rattled
the gate (I don’t know if it was open or closed), then said quite slowly
and distinctly “That’s a good gir-l” (making two syllables of the last
word). Gretchen.

3V0495.4

3V0495.04 “Who’s Peggy?” (She points to herself: [That]) (6/1/79)

Later Peggy sat in my lap. Among other games, I asked her, “Who’s
Peggy?” She replied by raising her right hand behind her ear, with her
forefinger extended, and touched her head, saying “That” very
definitely.

3V0495.5

3V0495.05 Foxy

Coming around the corner of the butcher block, when I called her
because of a splashing noise, Peggy hove into view carrying her toy fox.
I asked her if she had been ” giving Foxy a drink” She dropped it in my
lap and said “Fox.”

3V0497.1

3V0497.01 Comprehends [Daddy have the brush]; she gets it (6/3/79)

Peggy comes in the bathroom whenever I take a bath. She likes me to
wind up a little plastic duck and let it paddle about in the water. Today
after watching the duck, she picked up a hair brush from the side of
the tub, [and] stroked her head. I named the brush. Peggy then toddled
out of the bathroom. I expected her to return with it, but she came
back empty handed. I said to her, “Daddy have the brush.” She turned,
walked out of the bathroom, and returned with it.

Importance — This incident marks another variation introduced to
Peggy’s basic imperative sentence, i.e. “‘recipient’ have that”, by
specifying the object’s name. Gretchen may have earlier tried forms
such as “have cookie?” — but it is not clear precisely how Peggy
interpreted such an expression.

3V0498.1

3V0498.01 In Boston for MIT graduation (6/04-5/79)

This was our trip to Boston for Bob’s graduation from MIT. We all got
up at 5 am, to drive to Boston by 9. Peggy was left at the child care
service in McCormack Hall while the rest of us went to Killian Court.
She behaved very well, although she did appear astonished by all the
other children there who were crying and carrying on. I gave her a
couple of little toys to play with and left her. Three and a half hours
later, when I returned, she was walking around the cribs which blocked
the doorway. When she saw me entering, she gave me a big welcoming
smile. Her “sitter” told me she had been very good and had not cried
at all. We returned to Logo and after a short while had Robby and
Miriam’s graduation, followed by an ice cream cake, which Peggy
shared. Then the children and I drove over the Brookline, for Miriam
to play with Dara, for me to register at the motel, and for Robby to play
with Danny Moore.

Peggy and I returned to Logo until we all left to collect the other
children and pick up José and Laurie for dinner. By now it was 7 pm
and Peggy was both hungry and tired, having had only a bit of cereal,
some ice cream, and water all day; and no nap (probably). Laurie had a
banana which Peggy devoured while he got his car, as ours would not
hold all of us comfortably. We went to Demos where Peggy got to sit
on a rolling high chair. During dinner she drank two containers of milk
(using a small restaurant glass) and had some rice, some flat bread,
and perhaps some lamb. towards the end, she began to get restless,
and Miriam walked her around (both on foot and in the high chair).
when we drove back to the motel, Miriam had to hold Peggy in the
front seat because Robby had fallen asleep in the back. once there, I
changed Peggy, put her in a nightgown and tried to persuade her to lie
down in the port-a-crib and go to sleep. Despite the fact that she had
been nodding and dozing in the car, Peggy would not settle down; she
stood in the crib and cried loudly. bob and I left to have a beer with
José and Laurie; when we returned an hour later, all was quiet. Miriam
said she had changed Peggy again and after that Peggy was willing to lie
down. The next morning, the children waked up around seven. Bob
and Miriam went to MIT by trolley, while Robby and I packed up and
checked out. We went up Beacon street to the barber’s. First, Robby
had his hair cut (while I went to the Star and got milk and cookies).
Then Peggy had her hair cut, sitting in my lap. she wriggled and
screamed the whole time (this had never happened to her before,
getting a haircut), so the result was a trifle uneven. she absolutely
would not permit the barber to use the trimmers on her neck. While I
had my hair cut. she stood nearby and cried. We then went to Logo,
and hung around until mid-afternoon. By lunchtime Peggy was
obviously tired, so we took the sleeping bag out of the car. She could
not be persuaded simply to lie down on it, so I sat down and held her,
first in my lap, then gradually as she shifted around to get comfortable,
onto the sleeping bag with her head pillowed on my knee. She was so
tired that she could not keep sucking her fingers. as her eyes closed,
her hand slid out of her mouth and I could see her tongue still making
sucking motions, like a very young baby. After a couple of false starts
she fell asleep and I was able to get myself out from under her head
and leave her to nap for an hour or so. she was awake again before we
left Logo around 3:30. During the ride home she played with some
empty soda cans, and also developed a game with me. She would push
on my back, forcing me to bend forward; then she would reach under
my arm and pull me back upright again, over and over. (This is a
variant of a game she plays on the bed, sitting in my lap facing me and
pushing me down to a reclining position. I sit up and she pushes me
back down.) Some time during the day, Peggy wanted me to name
things for her. She went systematically and repeatedly over my face,
pointing at my features and inquiring “that” — we did mouth, nose,
eyes, glasses, cheek, chin, and ears. Gretchen.

3V0502.1

3V0502.01 Trash can: comprehension and generalization

Peggy comes to pick at the contents of my writing table whenever she is
in my bedroom. (Just now she took a box of chalk and complained
vociferously when I retrieved it from her). Today she found the cap of
a beer bottle and picked it up. I asked “Will you put that in the trash
can ?” Peggy immediately turned towards it, toddled over, and dropped
the cap in the can.

Questions: 1. how would Peggy have acted if I asked her “Will you put
that in the blitz krieg ?” or made some other equally inappropriate
request ? I should try this.

2. did anyone teach her the name “trash can” ? Gretchen informs me
that yesterday she asked Peggy to put something in the “trash can”
(down in the kitchen, one which is quite different in appearance), and
when Peggy looked blank, she touched it and continued, “This is the
trash can.”

Importance: a surprising response on Peggy’s part is here traced back
to a specific incident in which the name of an object was given and
apparently well-attached to a functionally defined object.

3V0502.2

3V0502.02 Pure verbal interpretation overwhelms context: 6/08/79

Pick up Foxy
The older children have a bad habit (likely picked up from me) of
dropping wherever they are whatever they have no further need of.
when I try to get them to pick up after themselves they complain “I
didn’t have that” or “Shouldn’t (the other child) pick up that (other
thing) also ?” With considerable justice, they complain that Peggy
makes an absolute mess of the house, dropping her things, theirs, or
whatever comes to have wherever she is when something else
dominates her mind. Thus, when I asked Robby today to pick up some
clothes he had dropped in the kitchen I turned to Peggy who had
dropped the toy red fox near her high chair and said “Peggy, will you
pick up Foxy ?” pointing at the toy on the floor. Standing near me and
the toy (to which I pointed and which was in her sight), she looked up
at me then crossed the kitchen to the dog’s bed, grabbed Scurry by the
ear, and tugged at it three times.

Importance: Peggy’s reaction to this instruction was entirely
unexpected. No one has ever referred to Scurry as Foxy. Even though
Foxy (the name we all use for her toy red fox) was in plain view and
further specified by pointing, Peggy apparently considered Scurry the
intended referent of the name I spoke. Clearly, Scurry is the
outstanding exemplar of what a fox is — for Peggy has identified the
Scotty as a fox numerous times on videotape.

It would be a mistake to erect a theory of label fixation on the basis of
a single example, but I incline to see this “error” of interpretation as
similar to the hypothetical process I have otherwheres called the
“nucleation of microworld clusters.” Here, in place of an archetype,
the primary example of Peggy’s class of ‘Fox’, i.e. Scurry, is interpreted
as the referent for a term which has never been applied to her. If no
more, this incident is evidence and a lucid example of how thought
intervenes even in so “simple” a process as the association of names
with referents.

3V0503.1

3V0503.01 [Who have that?] role of pragmatics; example for analysis (6/9/79)

Miriam, sitting at the table, had left a pair of shoes across the kitchen
despite my asking her to pick them up. When I called them to her
attention and we talked about the shoes, Peggy picked up one and
carried it over to Miriam. Miriam tried to get Peggy to bring her the
second shoe as well, speaking in this vien. “Peggy, get me the shoe. The
shoe. Miriam have that.” Peggy went back for the other shoe but
brought it to me at the table. I said, “No, Peg. Not Daddy. Who have
that? Miriam have that.”

Peggy looked at me, walked away carrying the shoe, then dropped it
and turned. She walked determinedly back to me, poked my arm with
her finger, and said, “Dad.”

Importance — Peggy clearly can label me as “Dad.” Her productive use
witnesses it as much as her pointing to her own head when
asked “Where’s Peggy?”

More importantly, this incident witnesses the not-always evident role of
pragmatics. That is, Peggy took Miriam’s shoe (because they were hers?
Because of the size?) Then, she gave me a turn to receive a shoe and
was confused when I verbally redirected her.

3V0509.1

3V0509.01 Writing on a paper bag (6/15/79)

Peggy was running around our bedroom with an open pen. I told her
not to write on her clothes and suggested that she could draw on a
paper bag that lay on the floor. Pointing to it, I said [something like]
“You can use that paper bag there to draw on.” Peggy looked at me,
then at the bag, and went over, picked it up, and handed it to me (just
as though that was what I had said to do). I took the bag, pretended to
write on it, and placed it on the floor in front of her. Peggy
immediately bent down and tried to scribble on the bag. (She does not
realize that a ball point pen requires pressure and will not leave much
of a mark otherwise).

General observations — over the past week or two Peggy has been
reaching out for the banister as she is carried upstairs. If she is close
enough, she will hold on and run her hand along the rail.
She has also begun to smile and clap when praised and/or pleased.

Gretchen.

3V0513.1

3V0513.01 Sentence completion (6/19/79)

“Peggy, do you want to get…?” This question I addressed to her while
she stood in her high chair. Peggy responded /dau/. No big surprise.
The point is raising this question to salience. What minor changes of
our speech patterns can we introduce that will permit us to better
probe Peggy’s speech and knowledge competence.

3V0516.1

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]

3V0517.1

3V0517.01 Feeding the dog [Scurry…he eaten’] spontaneous production (6/23/79)

Food is one thing Scurry and Peggy have in common. Scurry follows Peg
about picking up crumbs, claiming whatever falls and is neglected, and
even receiving an occasional handout. Peggy, however, takes food from
Scurry as well as gives it to her. Thus, it is no surprise to find Peggy,
from her high chair, dropping food on the floor, then peering over the
edge to watch Scurry eat. What was surprising was Peggy’s comment to
me when I asked, “Peggy, what are you doing?” Her reply was
[Scurry…he eaten’]. This last was /i en/ (the /t/ was omitted, but the
pronoun was definitely there following a pause).

Relevance — This is a spontaneous example of Peggy’s speech
production. It is already a definitely meaningful comment about an
activity in [which] Peggy was engaged and thus contrasts directly with
the uncommunicative tirade of speech production.

3V0518.1

3V0518.01 Naming with pointing [car] (6/24/79)

Driving in her car seat, Peggy named a car [ka] with pointing
simultaneously. Gretchen.

3V0520.1

3V0520.01 Naming with pointing at pictures; alternating car, dog (6/26/79)

Miriam and Peggy were looking at a book by Richard Scary. Peggy
pointed to a picture of a dog driving a car. Miriam said, “Car.” Peggy
pointed again. “Car.” And again. “Car.” About the fourth or fifth
repetition, Miriam was bored and tired of repetition. “Car. Don’t you
know that? How many times do I have to tell you?” I took over. “Car.”
“Car.” “Car…” Then Peggy introduced a variation. “Dog.” “Car.” “Dog.”
“Car.” She pointed first to one, then the other, for what seemed to be
at least a dozen repetitions. I do not know why she does this; she knew
perfectly well what they were. Perhaps it was the sense of power, being
able to invoke a response; perhaps it was curiosity, to see if the answer
would change.

3V0522.1

3V0522.01 Tirades disappeared; “comments” instead (6/28/79)

What happened to the ‘tirades’ and recording of them? The attempt at
recording failed because they dropped out of Peggy’s behavior —
rather, they took a reduced form which is more appropriate to call
“comments.” The characteristic of a comment is its length — typically
two or three sentences (as judged [by] patterns of prosody) — and its
relation to pragmatics. Most commonly, Peggy seems to be talking
about what she is doing (as in the “discussion” of bean bags noted
subsequently). It is possible that Peggy tries to talk about things she
wants, but I have no clear examples for reference (we should look for
this sort of occasion; its non-occurrence would also be interesting).
We have been able to record a few samples of “comments” on audio
tape. There are also significant examples of this in videotapes P74 and
P75.

3V0524.1

3V0524.01 Pragmatics and names [bring me the snuggle gruggle] (6/30/79)

Peggy was playing with a large ball. At one point, when it was not in her
possession and she had been distracted by something, I said to her,
“Peggy, bring me the snuggle gruggle.” Without hesitation she went
over to the ball, picked it up, and brought it to me. Gretchen.

3V0527.1

3V0527.01 Spontaneous naming [shoe] (2 different examples) (7/3/79)

This morning before breakfast Peggy was playing in our room. She
picked up one of Bob’s moccasins and said, “Shoe.” Shortly thereafter
she picked up one of his deck shoes and repeated, “Shoe.” Gretchen.

3V0528.1

3V0528.01 Naming [shoe]#3. Silly instruction? “Right, that’s a shoe and you put it
on your head” [foot]…[but = clasp] (7/4/79)

This morning Peggy played in the bedroom as I sat in my chair. Peggy
picked up one of Gretchen’s white sandals and said [shoe]. Gretchen
asked if I heard. I said so and then to Peggy, “Right. That’s a shoe and
you put it on your head.” Peggy looked puzzled by my nonsense and
after a short pause said /fut/, which I interpret as [foot]. She then
pointed to the clasp and said /b/\t/.

Relevance — This bit of nonsense I said shows, by her response, not
merely that Peggy knows shoes go on feet but that [she] applied some
understanding of what I said to what she was doing and knew, rejected
what I said and expressed her own idea. I am somewhat confused now
about why I think this is important. [Later addition: no longer so. cf.
Mallory’s [Selfridge] “Joshua, get on the tape recorder.”]

3V0534.1

3V0534.01 Words and situations: trash can-words, like things seen can be unconsidered (cf. notes # for problem solving analogy) (7/10/79)

A little exploration following Chomsky’s advice that you can probe
language understanding (only) by examining the interpretation of
nonsense — Gretchen’s “snuggle gruggle” shows how easy it is to over
interpret language understanding on the bases of action. This is a
second example (cf. 6/8/79 Trash can).

Peggy picked over the contents of my writing table again today and
found a tulip-shaped tiny metal bell — the end of a light cord. I
directed her: “Peggy, put this in the trash can” as I returned it to her.
She toddled across the room and did so and returned to my table.
Selecting another piece of disposable stuff, I gave it her with “Put this
in the birdbath.” Peggy complied, but carried it to the trash can. In the
third variation, I gave her a roll of scotch tape in a dispenser and said,
“Put this in the icebox.” She put the tape in the trash can. Although we
would not throw it away, Peggy was willing.

Clearly the nouns of destination [?] in these sentences are not
determining what Peggy does. Does she know “birdbath”? No. Does she
know “icebox”? Quite likely — we more often name the refrigerator by
that label instead of “icebox,” but she has doubtless heard me use the
word when trying to raid it. That is, the refrigerator looms large in
Peggy’s life. She tries to get food out of it whenever it is opened and
often is permitted to do so.

3V0535.1

3V0535.01 Ant versus bug: preferred name for a shared referent (7/11/79)

Today at the beach I surprised Peggy by a sudden leap — I had caught
sight of a plant near my foot and thought at first it was a wasp. I
explained that I thought I had seen a bug, but it was only a plant.
Peggy, who was standing by my knee (I was sitting) began searching the
ground between my legs, repeating “Bug.” She did not appear to attend
my explanations that there was no bug. After a short bit, Peggy said
with satisfaction, “Bug” and began to stamp on the ground. I saw
motion, and identified it as a “little ant.” Peggy retorted, “li’l bug.” [We
have had much trouble with ants in the house over the past 6 weeks or
so, and those that are found wandering about on the floor are
promptly stepped on.] Gretchen.

3V0536.1

3V0536.01 More words and situations: “Give this to dada” vs.
“dada have that”; language role in microworld selection: role genetically prior
to terminal specification though it recedes to discourse level feature
(CENTRAL IDEA) (7/12/79)

Miriam sat across the dining room table unable to bring me something I
wanted (a magazine, perhaps). She directed Peggy, “Give this to Dada”,
then pointing directly at me when Peggy looked at her
uncomprehendingly she repeated, “Give this to Dada.” Peggy did not
respond. I caught her eye and whispered she should say, “Daddy have
that.” Miriam said, “Dada have that” without any gesture. Peggy
brightened, circumnavigated the table, and brought me the object.

To be doubly sure of Peggy’s non-understanding, I tried repeating the
incident: “Peggy, give this to Miriam.” I expected Peggy not to do so —
after which I intended to say “Miriam have that” with her consequent
execution — but Peggy carried the object back to Miriam right away.
Importance — the most striking element in the difference of Peggy’s two
responses to the “Give this etc.” directions is her successful
interpretation of my intention in the second case. How did that
happen?

In the first case, Miriam gave Peggy an incomprehensible order which
meant that Peggy should perform a familiar action (carry and give) on
an object in her grasp. When expressed as a well know formula, Peggy
executed the action. In the second case, when a similar order (only the
indirect object changed) [was given] Peggy executed that action on that
object in response without translation into a well known formula. The
two changes were recipient AND the immediate context or situation of
the utterance.

Can we say that language’s function as evidenced here is at the level of
microworld or frame selection? Yes. It IS reasonable then to consider
this function as genetically prior to terminal specification, even if it
may gradually recede in prominence to what linguists call “discourse
level features.”