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3V0233.2

3V0233.02 Peek a boo and the car trunk lid: 9/12

PEEK-A-BOO AND THE CAR TRUNK LID — Wednesday (9/6), when we returned Miriam to school after her appointment with the allergist, Gretchen bought some groceries and left me with Peggy. Peggy was very unhappy, having missed her morning nap and needing a diaper change — impossible till we should arrive home. Do you leave a baby squalling away, abandoned in the back seat of your car? The temptation is very great. I played with Peggy for a while, fetching her rattle (that humanoid again) whenever she threw it away (or dropped it — a distinction hard to make in the circumstance of her intense feeling). One very effective distraction — when Peggy dropped her rattle near me, i picked it up by the “feet”, showed it to her at the edge of her car seat, then as she reached for it, I slipped the rattle under her car seat. Peggy was buckled into her car seat and couldn’t get out — but she strained hard, leaning over the edge of the seat, looking for the no longer present rattle. We did this several times because it worked. She could be interested enough to forget her misery of the moment.

Seeing Gretchen in line, I went behind the car to open the trunk. Peggy’s car seat was fastened facing backward on the back seat. With the lid raised and her crying, I stepped to one side to wave at her through the window, to reassure her she had not been abandoned — and we were once again at playing Peek-a-boo…with the trunk lid in place of a diaper. After Peeking out once, the further novelty of the situation was clear. The trunk lid had two sides. I now appeared on the opposite side, watching Peggy. She was watching the point of my disappearance intently — but caught sight of me at my reappearance on the opposite side and turned to me smiling. I smiled back, disappeared and reappeared at the original side. Peggy was still looking where last I was, but saw me. Next I disappeared at the right (the original side) and reappeared there, found her still looking..; disappeared and reappeared on the left, to which she turned immediately. I left to help Gretchen with the groceries.

RELEVANCE — The first incident shows Peggy’s grasp of object permanence in the context of visible/invisible domains of space (cf. Piaget OIC, obs.____). The second observation is a naturally occurring analog of an object disappearing behind a screen — but with the difference that the permanent object, me, has its own motives for appearing in one place or another. Even observing that Peggy always looked to the right, we should ask — where should she look? If objects appear and disappear in ways one can’t explain, wouldn’t it be an easy theory to attribute to them some lesser quantum of will than those adults who loom so large in the infant’s life?
`
– circumstantial problems impel parents to distract infants
– interest is at the zone of proximal development
– parents provide instruction whether they intend to or want to or not

3V0245.1

3V0245.01 Everyday prohibitions as source of naming 9/24/78

Peggy was crawling about on the living room floor as Gretchen chatted with a house guest. The floor was littered with her toys and the dog’s. “No, Peggy. Don’t chew on that. That’s Scurry’s bone.”

RELEVANCE — The kinds of verbal naming formulae witnessed by Ninio appear in everyday incidents of prohibition. Teaching a kid words from book-reading and looking at pictures appears a relatively unnatural task into which the woman subject apparently transposed the harder to document, more natural occurrence, from situations where verbal commands control the infant.

3V0245.2

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?

3V0247.1

3V0247.01 Naming buttons in verbal imitation.
Gretchen’s instruction “cookie”: 9/26/78;

The older children in school and Gretchen chauffeuring a house guest to the bus depot, Peggy was left alone in my care for a few hours today. After her nap and my tending to a variety of her needs, Peggy decided my lap was the place to be. In no time at all, she was investigating my buttons. My flannel overshirt was a rich field — buttons up the middle, on the pockets, and even (ahah!) on the cuffs. I attracted Peggy’s attention to those on her sleep suit. “Those are BUTTONS, Peggy, BUTTONS.” She paused, then “/b/\t/.” When I pointed to those on my shirt and said, “BUTTONS, Peggy, BUTTONS” she repeated, “/b/\t/.”

RELEVANCE — In this incident we can see coming together the labeling instruction that Ninio provoked and Gretchen more spontaneously provided with the verbal imitation first documented in session P 35 (9/24). The initial and final consonants are not the same as were all the examples of P 35. I would make no claim at this point that Peggy associates her production /b/\t/ with buttons, but it must be absolutely clear that through such situations as this Peggy will come to make naming associations. (Down stairs, now, I hear Gretchen feeding Peggy: Peggy, would you like a COOKIE, COOK-IE.” I assume she talks to herself partly for her own amusement at a monotonous task — as in this case she was partly imitating Sesame Street’s cookie monster.)

3V0256.1

3V0256.01 Verbal Imitation of “shoe” 10/01

Gretchen left Peggy with me while she made cookies in preparation for the first meeting of Robby’s cub scout pack. After trying to constrain Peggy various ways and failing, I let her roam around the floor of our bedroom/ study. After beating the log carrier with her toy giraffe and munching on her hairbrush, Peggy crawled in my direction and as she has done frequently, began beating on my shoe. Catching her eye, I said, “Shoe, Peggy, shoe.” Peggy repeated, “Shoe.” Her imitation, tentative and lacking clear enunciation, had nonetheless the right components.

RELEVANCE — Miriam first, then the rest of us, finding that Peggy has begun verbal imitation, began instructing Peggy in naming. The main focus is on people, but buttons, spoons, and shoes come in for their share of attention. It’s very hard to say why. It’s clear there is some element involved of simply taking advantage of a new opportunity to have a hand in doing something significant. We must view acculturating Peggy as a very significant accomplishment. There is also the long persistent drive to help Peggy reveal to us who she is.

3V0263.1

3V0263.01 Waving, communication through imitation. 10/12

WAVING — Peggy sat in my lap after dinner. We had indulged in some conversations with Peggy. Robby approached my chair and Peggy said /ae/, flapping both her arms as she has long done when excited. Robby repeated /ae/ and waved his right arm. Peggy smiled then /ae/ /ae/, waving one arm (her right) once for each sound. Robby imitated her precisely. Both continued this communication, varying the number of sounds and wavings, for over two minutes, with Peggy always directing.

RELEVANCE — (see comments in V0263.02)

3V0263.2

3V0263.02 Social Selection of some actions

Social Selection of some actions as interesting leads to their entering the repertoire.
RELEVANCE (of preceding story in V0263.01) — Here we see an accidental correspondence of two actions selected as significant, of interest, to another person. This stumbling upon an interesting new pattern so pleased Peggy that she elevated the combined element into a new pattern in her repertoire. Both actions were well under Peggy’s control when it happened. This is clear evidence that she can assemble joint actions from single actions. It also shows the build[ing] of a repertoire of ‘interesting’ actions which can serve as a pool of potentially meaningful communication transactions.

3V0267.1

3V0267.01 Associating Sounds with People. Interesting Action. 10/16

Peggy went through a period of several days where she seemed to associate her sounds with people. The most striking case was ma-ma(repeated an indefinite number of times with no obvious relevant stress on intonational accenting), which she apparently connected with Gretchen. This delighted Gretchen, who would typically respond, “That’s right, Peggy, ‘mama’, that’s me!” [note by Gretchen: to establish that connection firmly.]

The non-standard variation that made this so striking and amusing was Peggy’s putting on me the “label” /b/\b/ /b/\b/ /b/\b/ instead of da da.
RELEVANCE — As with her discovery that waving was an “interesting” action, i.e. one she could use in social exchange with another person, Peggy appeared on the verge of discovering naming as such an interesting action.

3V0271.1

3V0271.01 A Walker: social pushiness as instruction 10/20/78

For several weeks, we have discussed buying a walker for Peggy because of her preference for standing and as a device she could use to increase her scope. We have seen them on sale and today bought one.

Relevance: The first incident shows Miriam’s intrusiveness, driving Peggy forward to “the next major achievement.” We parents do the same in watching what Peggy is capable of and giving her whatever we think she could use to enrich her time and extend her scope.

3V0277.1

3V0277.01 Rolling Objects (10/26/78)

At home alone with Peggy, I brought her from the living room to play in the bedroom while I worked there. Peggy had been playing with tinker-toy connectors of this sort (sketch of wooden cylinder with holes on the top, bottom, and around the side).
Even when I put her, sitting, on a multi-folded quilt, Peggy dismissed her block, ring tower, and rattle to play with this object. It was round and should roll. thrown onto the quilt, it did not roll much. Peggy threw it on to the floor and pursued it when it rolled. Most striking were those situations, they were frequent, when the piece landed on its flat side and did not roll at all. These clearly puzzled Peggy. She picked up the piece, put it in her mouth, tried again.

Relevance: Peggy may have solved this problem represented by this piece sometimes rolling and sometimes not. The incident suggests a clear experiment – give her two objects, of about the same size: a ball and a cylindrical solid, follow her experimenting with both to see if she can dependably get the cylinder to roll. Problem: how can we tell whether she has it figured out or not ? Does she lose interest ? Does she get it to roll consistently ?

Finally, this contrast, if still a puzzle to her, could be a situation where we could witness the mouthing “shape-verification” that Mimi believes she has seen.

3V0278.1

3V0278.01 “Pick me up” gesture as precursor of causality. 10/27/78;

When wanting to be picked up, Peggy’s habit has been to crawl to your feet and look up, crying and wailing. Oftimes, we would hold out our hands as she crawled over to show both our readiness and that we wanted her to come to where we were. Gretchen mentioned yesterday a new and more explicit tactic of Peggy. She believes that as Peggy drew near her hands, she pulled Gretchen’s hands under her armpit. Did that really happen ? Peggy just did it again, with me, just pulling my left hand and then my right into those places.

Relevance: the really intriguing question here is whether to Peggy this is a sign or an action through which she “expects” to effect her picking up. I can’t imagine any test that would differentiate between the possibilities — and she most likely makes no such distinction herself. you can almost believe in a primitive association, a magical -going-together (as Levi-Strauss puts it) as the precursor of the idea of cause. This may be an example of it.

3V0278.2

3V0278.02 Pipe play: giving as a communication protocol 10/27/78

PIPE PLAY — When sitting in my lap, Peggy frequently ends up with one of my old pipes. (I still carry them about in a shirt pocket and chew on the stem, though I no longer smoke.) These pipes of mine have become a favorite toy of hers. I am only marginally concerned that she may eat a little carbon — but it does make a mess when she chews on the wrong end (her standard practice). I have become accustomed, occasionally taking a pipe from her, to “instruct” her by putting the stem end in my mouth. Playing [in] my lap tonight, Peggy had a different idea — she offered the pipe-stem end of the pipe to me by raising it and poking it close to my mouth. When I took it between my teeth, she laughed then took the pipe back from me.

RELEVANCE — This seems a spontaneous example of play-giving. Its significance is that this sort of game can (and probably will) develop into another kind of social communication ritual. — She has given the pipe to me, and I let her have it back immediately. Will she “turn around” this communication protocol? If I give to her, will she give back?

3V0283.1

3V0283.01 Trapped fingers: a really bad bug (11/01/78)

Twice in these last several days, as she played with her box of blocks, Peggy has closed the box lid on a finger. The problem quickly magnifies because she leans on the box with her other hand. Peggy screams and cries; it has been clear that she doesn’t understand the problem at all. Her desire to solve the “problem” couldn’t be clearer.

With her finger hurting so much, it should be “obvious” that the cause is its being caught in the box — but it probably is not.

3V0283.2

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.

3V0287.1

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.

3V0293.1

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.

3V0294.1

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.”

3V0306.1

3V0306.01 More about pointing; pointing related to sucking: 11/24/78

A few days ago Peggy was chasing Scurry around the kitchen. Using her two forefingers as a probe, she rolled over to Scurry and poked at her nose as the dog backed away. While doing this, Peggy looked at her hand and, studying it, curled up her middle finger.

Peggy continues to point with two fingers of her right hand and suck on the two middle fingers of her left hand. she doesn’t usually suck on her right hand. Gretchen tells me that two days ago she saw Peggy sucking on her right hand – and she was sucking her two forefingers.

Relevance: Peggy’s focus on her forefinger is the kind of incident through [which I] expect a progressive discrimination and control of the digits to gradually develop. It might well be than many children would first segregate a forefinger from the hand-groups, whereas Peggy shows a different parting of the forefingers into two groups of two.

The discrimination of finger sucking patterns and frequency by hand is an observation we will follow. But because Peggy uses the right forefingers as a probe — and we can not claim we saw her with two different sucking patterns before that use began — we can not argue that the sucking pattern preceded probing unless through an analysis of finger sucking incidents in the videotapes.

3V0309.2

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?

3V0309.3

3V0309.03 Verbal imitation of “Thank you”: first addition of verbal communication to object based protocol. 11/27

THANK YOU — Peggy has been playing ‘giving’ with her pipe for several days with her grandmother. Edie would take the pipe from Peggy, pretend to puff, and return it with a “Thank you.” Yesterday, as she wheeled about in her walker, she offered her pipe to Gretchen in a series of exchanges and in one, she accompanied her ‘giving’ with /dae/dae/ [the current syllabic favorite] — but what was remarkable was that she “said” ‘Thank you’ — she had the right tempo and intonation pattern. It was after Peggy’s “Thank you” that I observed how regular was Edie’s part in her protocol with Peggy.

RELEVANCE — This ‘giving’ incident is the first one wherein Peggy has appeared to add elements of verbal communication to an object-based communication protocol. What is noteworthy especially is the “turn around”, as imitation, occurring with a different person from the one who inspired it. This is clear evidence that the “phrase” is in Peggy’s mind. This incident is also the first one in which it is fairly clear she has “said” something. — She has just passed her ten month birthday. What other two syllable statements could we expect to recognize from intonation and context?

3V0317.1

3V0317.01 Temporal advancement of “thank you” to a command. 12/05

NO “THANK YOU” — Peggy’s use of the pattern has proved transient. She no longer says anything when given my pipe or a cookie or whatever. But the passing of the phrase was marked by an interesting transition shown in only a single incident: Peggy wanted some particular thing (what it was escapes me) which I had; she held out her hand with her “impure point” to me and said /øaen/. By a sort of temporal advancement, the verbal courtesy “thank you”, which was merely associated with the act of receiving a given thing, was transformed into an articulate word of command, i.e. “give me that thing I want.”

The holophrase “Here”, meaning “Pay attention to me and take this thing I am giving you” has reached a permanent position in Peggy’s repertoire. Her vocalization is most commonly /thae/ with a falling intonation — when she holds out an object, offering it in her ‘giving’ protocol. Peggy’s vocal accompaniment to giving occurs more frequently than it is omitted.

RELEVANCE — These notes document the transience and permanence of two different ur-phrases in Peggy’s repertoire. The “Here” ur-phrase, one of command, remains. The “Thank you” has disappeared with a single incident occurring where it was promoted to a commanding function.
– How else does Peggy get us to do what she wants?
– The most common want of me is “pick me up.” Peggy earliest showed me this want by taking hands and moving them under her armpits. Now more commonly, she crawls over and stands up, wailing, by holding onto my pants leg.
– Frequently, once she gets into my lap, her more specific objective is to twist away from me and seize whatever may be in reach on my table.

3V0329.1

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.

3V0329.2

3V0329.02 Reflections on putting (12/17/78)

If Peggy has yet to distinguish the interior of objects from the surfaces (in the sense of not understanding hollowness, how can it make sense to say that she is putting one thing ONTO or INTO another ? What is required is an imputation of a goal to her — one impossible to infer with confidence because when we see Peggy put one object ON another, we can’t tell if she is trying to get it IN and failing. Despite the caveat, that is precisely what we must try to do in the hope of trying to appreciate what reality the baby is constructing. The only (way?) of describing this may be through specifying the specific problems the infant is trying to solve, e.g. why do cups go together in one place, boxes sometimes do and balls never do ?

I speculate that “putting into” is the more profound of the relations being explored because it connects directly with the problem of surfaces and substance. The latter is an essential problem to solve in the construction of the visual ordering, i.e. three dimensional descriptions of 2 dimensional signal reception. “Putting onto” may have, as Marvin claims, profound consequences for the logic of thought — but surely it can be no more profound that the construction of space with objects.

3V0358.1

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.

3V0368.2

3V0368.02 Putting on and putting in are distinguished (1/25/79)

Relevance: These observations document that Peggy has now distinguished putting-on from putting-in. I believe further, that they trace Peggy’s experience through the events in which putting-on developed. The sequence is first, climbing, i.e. putting oneself on (at least getting on); drawing back from an object onto which one might not get if not so risky; putting-on other things as the put-on-able object.

Reflecting further: where might this lead ? This stool is for Peggy literally a “body-support-structure” –ie it is a thing capable of supporting her body. She should be able to dissociate the idea of her body from the support structure, but it will probably be quite a while before she can decompose its arches into legs and a span. However, she may soon discover that some put-on-able objects have the equivalent of a hollow, are thus put-in-able as well, just as cups are — her interest in side insertion should lead to that directly, Will she be surprised to find the putting-in one side may eventuate in coming out the other ? It is clear that the stool and perhaps a solid equivalent should enter our next video tape session.

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.

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.

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.

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.

3V0415.1

3V0415.01 Functional classification: two examples, one in error (3/13/79)

Peggy has begun to classify objects by what she knows their use to be.
Some examples are equivocal, though I remain convinced of their
interpretation. For example, Peggy has been “brushing” her hair. This
could be from having her hair brushed, from seeing Miriam brush her
hair, or it could be her use of the object according to a functional
definition of what it is for. A further complication, with a hair brush, is
that Peggy passes so many things behind her neck, it is hard to be
certain that she is really “brushing.” (The best evidence is that she
repeatedly brushes her hair even if she eventually passes the brush
behind her neck.)

There is less certainty about the second example, depending as it does
on an incorrect assimilation, Peggy hates to have her nails cut. She
carries on terribly. She sat in my lap demanding objects from my table.
One of the first that came to her hand was a pair of tweezers. Peggy
held one end and touched the other to each of the toes on one foot in
succession. (The day before, she had had her nails clipped.) I infer
that Peggy saw the tweezers as a nail clipper (both are of the same
length and have a small set of jaws at the end). The functional
classification it witnessed by her application of the tweezers.

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.

3V0432.3

3V0432.03 Problem solving: bad bugs; insensitivity to the “obvious” (3/30/79)

Problem solving: bad bugs; insensitivity to the “obvious” (3/30/79) |
One of those many times she has sat in my lap, Peggy began trying to
uncap pens. (She has seen me put the cap on firmly many times, so
that when she put them in my pockets or took them out she would not
get ink all over). she succeeded with various bic pens and today she
tackled a black (?) Flash pen. This plastic pen has a metal ring and a
pocket clip and a white/gray circle at the top of the cap on the end.
Peggy succeeded in separating the cap from the pen. I put the cap back
on to avoid our both getting covered with black ink. Peggy removed
the cap. she began then trying to replace the cap, holding the pen in
her right hand and the cap in her left.

Peggy had a lot of trouble. She managed quite well inserting the pen in
the cap hole. BUT without good alignment, the pen would not go in
very far. She pressed harder. She removed the end and tried again.
After several tries, her persistence coupled with luck to permit the pen
insertion. She repeated the action five to ten times, refining her action
so that he re-insertions were quicker and more sure than the original
process. Somehow, the pen and the cap changed hands.

Peggy tried capping the pen with the cap in her right hand. She could
not do it. The reason is more surprising than the fact. The cap had
been turned around and she persisted in trying to insert the pen
through the white circle on the top of the cap. Can she not, does she
not distinguish a hole (whose appearance is black and round) from that
decorative circle (whose appearance is white and round)? The other
obvious common feature is that both are on the end of a cylinder.
If this is a discrimination failure, is the problem some non-salience of
color ? (Hard to believe.) Is it the complexity of three intersecting
features (being round, on a cylinder, and of different colors) ?
Perhaps it is not a discrimination failure but one of ignorance, i.e.
Peggy does not know that a covered hole prohibits insertion.

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.

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.

3V0485.1

3V0485.01 Action initiation; observations of symbolic ‘up’ from discussions with
Mimi Sinclair (5/22/79)

I discussed Peggy’s development with Mimi Sinclair and we reviewed a
video tape or two. She encouraged me to continue with the study till
Peggy is at least two years old. We discussed several topics.

Peggy and shoes — Peggy has no shoes of her own. (This is true at 16
months, 5/22/79, as it was six weeks ago). She has never had baby
shoes put on her. In cold weather, when her dress has not built-in
‘socks’, she has had socks put on her feet. Consequently, her attempt
currently and even earlier to put her feet in others’ shoes is as clear a
case of imitation as one could ask for. Peggy continues to put her feet
in others’ shoes; once she walked across the room with one moccasin
of mine; yesterday it was Miriam’s cowgirl boots.

The token ‘up’ revisited — When I discussed this topic with Mimi, she
found it interesting but not convincing. Were there any clear signs that
Peggy wanted to be picked up? How did she indicate this normally? Did
she follow or precede this token with such behavior?

In our conversations, I could not agree that she had done so.
Thereafter, it became common for Peggy to place a toy in my lap then
indicate (by flapping her arms, by making eager noises and smiling, by
placing her hands in her armpits) that she also wanted to be in my lap.
Sometimes I refused to pick her up and she indicated her frustration
(crying was usually reserved for cases of minor hurts when I did not
pick her up at once).

Mimi’s general advice on the experiments was that I should try to be
less intrusive…. Perhaps this will be possible in the future if I get more
time to plan the weekly experiments.

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.

3V0485.3

3V0485.03 Napping and Symbolic Play (5/22/79)

Napping — Sometimes when Peggy is playing in my lap, she will stop for
a while and lay her head down on my chest. She keeps her eyes open.
Peggy does this in other situations, not on people. For example,
yesterday she was bouncing on Miriam’s bed (she stands precariously
then definitely lets herself go, falling backward and bouncing on her
rump). In between these exercises, Peggy lay down her head on
Miriam’s pillow. Sometimes she smiles or laughs when she does it. It’s
a common activity of hers.

Importance — Could this “napping” be the precursor to that first
species of symbolic play, pretending-to-sleep? Since she does not close
her eyes, that significant aspect of sleeping is missing…but perhaps
Peggy doesn’t know that one closes his eyes in sleep? (She shares a
room with Miriam and surely has seen her [lie] in bed with closed
eyes.)

3V0491.1

3V0491.01 Peggy hiding by closing her eyes; no sense of how others see her (5/28/79)

Peggy likes to hide and play chase. The way she hides is reminiscent of
playing peek-a-book [sic]. She will run to the corner of a wall and its
perpendicular projection and put her head in the corner. When I cry
out “Where’s Peggy?” she will peek and smile and hide her head again.

Playing chase with Miriam, Peggy shows the same sort of behavior. Her
most common hiding place is the corner formed by a cabinet and wall.
This gives her room to hide, but she not merely gets out of sight of the
chaser, she goes deep into the corner, puts her head there, and closes
her eyes.

Today (June 8th) Peggy hid in a different context. She was mad at me
because she wanted to go downstairs and the gate was closed. As she
came crying back to me (I sat in the bedroom), I condescendingly tried
to jollify her. Peggy was unconsoled and hid her head in the corner of
the hallway and the door jamb to the bedroom.

Importance — Peggy seems to have no sense at all of how she appears to
another. Like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand, Peggy acts as
though she does not see herself as others see her. We can consider this
note as capturing a starting point in the expected, long-developing
dissociation of points of view from primary egocentrism.

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.

3V0495.2

3V0495.02 Pretending; incorrect choice as a joke (6/01/79)

Late in the afternoon I found myself waiting at home for two telephone
calls while Gretchen took the cub scouts on a trip. Peggy played in my
care and during the hour and more the following incidents occurred:
Pretending: Peggy of pulls dishes and other utensils from a cabinet with
low shelves. She pulled out and emptied a coffee jar. The lid to that
specific jar has a lip on it. It’s general appearance is like the surface of
the shield for Peggy’s drinking cup./ Peggy picked up the jar, lifted it to
her lips and “drank” from it. She turned to me and smiled. Was she
pretending to drink ? Did she expect milk to come out of the empty jar
(it was a transparent jar – but her cup is opaque). Is it possible she was
trying on the chance that it might work ? Or just to be sure that it
would not work ?

If she were disappointed, would she have smiled when she put the jar
down and looked at me ? Could we see here a very early example of
“incorrect-choice-interpreted-as-a-joke: as in the examples of Miriam’s
“going-flying” bug in CECD ?

3V0495.3

3V0495.03 Putting herself into things: hats and more (6/01/79)

Peggy has played with Robby’s Boston Red Sox protective helmet. The
children or I place it on her head when she brings it to us – and replace
it when it falls off, as it always does. Peggy extracted a large colander
from those low shelves, put it on her head, and toddled about the
kitchen.

Peggy has been putting her feet into shoes for a while, has even tried to
get socks on her feet. With that same colander which served as a hat,
she extended its use as a thing for putting the whole self into. This use
may have been inspired by a game of Miriam’s: she took a large box
(left from the new encyclopedia set), attached a strong (string? rope?) to the front
flap, and declared it a cart; both girls were happy when Miriam pulled
Peggy about the downstairs. Peggy has since then climbed into the box
by herself (a difficult job for her because of its height.)

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.

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.

3V0502.3

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
speaker.

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
anything.

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
signifiers.

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
on).

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.

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.