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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]

3V0516.2

3V0516.02 Concrete pipe: putting in (6/22/79)

Peggy often rides with Miriam and me down to the Cox school to pick
up Robby after soccer practice. Beside the soccer field is a play area
for the older children.. One object is an 8 foot long concrete pipe of 4
foot diameter. Peggy was obvious(ly) fascinated by it when Miriam
went through it. She toddled over, leaned in then backed up to me for
comfort. From the other end, Miriam urged her by calling. Peggy did
go through with some unease and was delighted at having finished the
challenge — delighted but not merely relieved. Robby joined us and
calling her to keep her attention on him, he first went around the
outside then came back to her through the inside of the pipe.
Relevance: this records an experience of Peggy’s wherein she goes
through personally a cylinder in the way of various objects she inserts
in the cardboard tubes in our videotape experiments. This sort of
experience could serve as an exemplar permitting connection of
putting-into and going-through kinds of experiences.

3V0531.1

3V0531.01 COUNTING: beginning of notes. Cookies, hands, and counting (7/7/79)

During interviews at IBM, Moshe Zloof raised the question of whether
or not, in effect, counting is innate. I told him the question was a big
one about which I felt no one could speak with authority but that I had
very strong prejudices. As an example of the kind of experience from
which I felt the knowledge of counting might develop, I cited Peggy’s
reception of cookies. After convincing us to get her a cookie, Peggy
would sometimes open her mouth to receive it directly. More
commonly, she would hold out her hand (usually the right), take the
cookie, and put it in her mouth. Some time ago (we neither can recall
just when), in a situation where a whole stack of cookies was available,
Peggy requested and received a cookie for each hand. In some
circumstances, Peggy ended up transferring two cookies to one hand
and eating a cookie sandwich. The final step, which I witnessed but
can’t date, was Peggy requesting a cookie for each hand, then
transferring the right cookie to the left hand and requesting another.
In this little series of incidents, we see one-to-one correspondence and
a procedure for “getting one more”. These two are enough to base a
counting system on.

Today, Peggy began picking up all the various things on my chair side
table. I gave her three small bean bags to play with. The game of
choice became putting them in my palm and removing them. The
material scraps from which the bean bags were made are all colorful
and quite different from one another. She removed them several ways:
by ones, two first, and two last. When my hand was empty, she twice
scratched my palm after removing the third bag.

Peggy was much engaged with this bean bag play, talking all the while
(the talk is recorded on audio tape #3). I intend to play with these
little bags during our next experiment on videotape. Let’s see if we can
catch the development of Peggy’s knowledge of counting.

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.

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.”

3V0545.1

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

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

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

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

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

3V0550.1

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

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

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

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

3V0559.1

3V0559.01 “Daddy Hug Peggy” : 08/04/79;

Comforting the baby, it was our custom to hold her close and pat her
gently on the back. Amusingly, when she was so comforted, even
though crying, Peggy would return this gentle patting on the back.
Recently, she has begun responding to my statement or question
“Daddy hug Peggy” by toddling close to me, ready to receive a hug.
After my many previous huggings of her toy fox and bear,
accompanied by verbal description, e.g. “Daddy hug Foxy,” Peggy
would hug her toy and would eventually do so in response to a verbal
command (if she wanted to). Sitting in my lap today, I said, “Daddy hug
Peggy.” Her response was to come to me (i.e. lean over to my torso),
put her head on my chest sideways, and put her arms around my waist;
i.e. Peggy hugged me. The activity is the first, with explicit verbal
connection, wherein agent and patient can be interchanged. As such, it
can show both Peggy’s pristine interpretation and can be used as a test
vehicle to explore when and how Peggy begins connecting surface word
order with different roles.

The pristine interpretation of “Daddy hug Peggy” and “Peggy hug
Daddy” is order invariant and seems to be “Daddy and Peggy hug each
other.” This construction of mine reflects an earlier conception of
Mimi Sinclair’s (for older babies, i.e. several years of age) but more
importantly springs out of the evidence itself both of this incident and
Peggy’s earlier “patting.”

3V0568.1

3V0568.01 A Verbal Confusion: 08/13/79;

During the videotape session P81, Robby read THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY to
Peggy. At that time, or later in the evening, Peggy pointed to a picture
of a lizard (on the page with no other animals). “Lizard,” I said. Peggy
imitated my naming by saying /***/, possibly /***/. (This heard
pronunciation should be verifiable (or not so) if the incident occurred
during P81.)

Relevance: This incident could be important in itself if my hearing and
recall are borne out. Notwithstanding that question, this incident and
Gretchen’s observation of 8/14 (On) are quite important for raising in
concrete terms a central theoretical issue: how precisely are word
knowledge and operation and thing knowledge related? More
specifically, is “lizard” originally confused with “scissors” and
differentiated from it? (Would not this be a pristine example of
“linguistic confusion” and the establishment of a “must-not-confound”
link?

Peggy’s first production of “on” occurred with an activity she had long
been accustomed to, both in the videotape experiments and
otherwheres, i.e. sticking parts of herself into things (last night I saw
her put her entire leg inside an empty coffee jar). Can we not infer that
this word is a late association (as a label for a relation) with a well
developed body of body knowledge? The production is evidence of the
association — which might have occurred earlier when Peggy put a
thing ON and someone said “on” at the same time.

I have a sense that these incidents permit and even promise a
deepening of my microworlds’ formulation — one wherein language
serves primarily as a labeling of relations between structures of
knowledge (of parts thereof, also) — a role integral with and yet
profoundly different from that of the structures themselves — and a
role capable of increasing the complexity of interaction of a primate
mind to the complexity we homo sapiens witness.

3V0573.1

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

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

3V0573.2

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

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

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

3V0574.2

3V0574.02 “One” : 08/19/79;

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

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

3V0575.1

3V0575.01 “Duff”: 08/20/79;

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

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

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

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

3V0578.1

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

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

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

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

3V0581.1

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

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

3V0581.2

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

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

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

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

3V0583.2

3V0583.02 [fan]: indistinct initial consonant; her accepting correction. 8/28/79

Terrible, muggy weather with the atmosphere filled with pollen and
mold spores. I set up the fan to pull cold air from the air conditioned
bedroom down to the dining room. Peggy came over to play with the
new object and was warned away because of the danger. She tried to
name it before we did and her best attempt came out as /vaen/. After
a few repetitions of /faen/ (by me), Peggy accepted correction and
referred to the object as /faen/.

Relevance: Peggy’s evident pleasure I interpret as evidence that she
knows she has “caught on” to naming — that even though sounds may
be ever so similar (as /vaen/ and /faen/ and as /faen/ and /caen/, one
can make a one-to-small-number correspondence between words and
possible meanings. (“meanings” here being the names of things or
relations.)

3V0587.1

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

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

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

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

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

3V0588.1

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

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

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

3V0588.2

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

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

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

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

3V0593.1

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

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

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

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

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

3V0594.1

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

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

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

3V0594.2

3V0594.02 ONE, TWO: [one, two]: note on standardization of Peggy’s counting
09/08/79;

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

3V0594.3

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

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

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

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

3V0594.4

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

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

3V0597.2

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

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

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

3V0603.1

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

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

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

3V0609.1

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

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

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

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

3V0609.2

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

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

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

3V0612.3

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

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

3V0614.1

3V0614.01 [gone]: first explicit verbal joke. 9/28/79

Peggy still enjoys putting things in my pockets and taking them out.
Not only does she ask for a pen (/pehn/) but she explains that she is
putting in or taking out of the pocket (pae/taet/) by saying [in there]
(as she stuffs a pen in) or [put in].

While playing so today, Peggy made what I consider her first, explicit
verbal joke. She put a fingernail clipper in my pocket, looked at me
and said [gone] and laughed. This joke seems to be a peek-a-boo
variation and is possibly connected with Peggy’s newly emerging sense
that she can be an independent agent.

3V0622.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3V0636.1

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

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

3V0650.1

3V0650.01 Diminutive “y”; is it a personal relation indicator, nominal date inserted: 11/3/79 from “Early November”

Peggy has been appending the “y” suffix to a number of words, e.g.
“dog” has become (on occasion) “doggy.” She exhibits the typical
extension in using any new feature. For example, not only has the dog
become “doggy” an alternate name for her toy terrier, not Scurry), but
even BALL has become BALL-y and SOX has become SOX-y. (This, as
Miriam notes rhymes with Foxy and is a most “logical” over extension
in terms of Peggy’s experiences).

What does the diminutive mean to her ? My speculation is that it is a
relation-indicator, one showing personal attachment to objects (as if
equivalent to “my dog.” “my ball,” “my sox.”) This is not much
different from adult usage.

3V0664.1

3V0664.01 Important observation and speculation: hiatus in holophrastic period as structure transition indicator; its disappearance indicates a new level of organization (11/17/79)

[following write-up of [bear come peggy] incident —
This last incident contrasts with what has been Peggy’s normal usage in
situations of accompaniment. It has been typical that when Peggy saw
some action or heard some statement she interpreted and wanted to
apply to her, she would say quickly and assertively, “Too !” This has
force like the common interjection, “Me too !”

What has been most striking to me about Peggy’s speech during this
time while dominated by single words is the tempo of extended
dialogues. The typical situation is that Peggy says one word — and
after a second long pause — says another. I am noting that I have
observed more constancy of rate than of function. I find this
interesting mainly in that it reinforces the vision of words as top-level
elements of semantically rich supportive structures frame- transition
mechanism – with one word salient in each activated frame.

We don’t know, of course, what one “word” is — the better, more
general term would be idiom…. but that, while it might be more
accurate would not express the obvious point that Peggy’s locutions are
so limited in general that she mostly says “words.”

3V0668.1

3V0668.01 Answering questions: she interprets query as request for more information but does not interpret specific elements, for example
“who” or “what”. (11/21/79)

Peggy interprets questions as requests for information — more
specificity — in what she has said. but she does not distinguish roles of
elements in a sentence as related to the specific queries, such as
“who?” or “What?” Today, sitting in my lap, she dropped a comb on the
floor and said “drop.” No answer to “who?” But when I asked “who
drop?” Peggy replied, “comb.”

She was interpreting my query — when it specifically related to her
previous utterance by repetition of “drop” as meaning the more
sensible of two questions:
1. “who dropped the whatever ?” (this is a stupid question: she was
sitting in my lap and I didn’t drop it.)
2. “Whatever was it you dropped.?” (a sensible query.)

3V0670.1

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

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

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

3V0679.1

3V0679.01 OKAY: communication ending with acknowledgment (12/2/79)

While I prepared a lecture, Peggy brought a toy to me and named (it) in
her way of imploring me to play with her —
Peggy: Train. Train.
Bob: Take it out to Robby.
Peggy: ‘Kay. (takes the toy to Robby. They play.)

This very simple conversation show Peggy’s conventional use of a
common communication protocol that concludes with a message of
acknowledgment (ie. I have received your message and am satisfied
with it.) Such a response, especially when followed by the related
action, should be looked for as evidence that Peggy interprets to her
satisfaction what we say to her.

3V0683.1

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

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

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

3V0686.1

3V0686.01 [gone…bird] Formulation: pre-sentences as further verbal specification of a well worked out scenario of action (along with infant’s gradually increasing sense of what else it might have meant). (12/4/79)

Peggy has been playing her “gone” joke or game (cf. ???) for sometime.
Frequently when she says gone, I ask “What’s gone?” Today, while
[playing with a wind-up hopping toy bird “Woodstock,” Peggy thrust
the toy behind her back and said “gone…bird.” The latter word
following the former with a missed beat (a half second or so). I
consider this an important example of how Peggy is beginning to
assemble complex proto-phrases. Note well that they are syntactically
irregular and proceed as further verbal specification of a well worked
out scenario of action.

3V0687.1

3V0687.01 [gone…room] answers “what happened to your pants?” progressive specification example. (12/13/79)

Peggy came into my ken in a short [shirt?] and diaper. “Peggy, what happened
to your pants ?” “Gone…room,” she responded.

Here the meaning of “gone” is clearly applied beyond the scenario of
her game — but the pattern of her response is progressive specification.

3V0689.1

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

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

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

3V0690.1

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

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

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

3V0696.1

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

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

3V0697.1

3V0697.01 [nice bear]: feeling is first ! good example for raising issues in the further-specification model. (12/20/79)

Peggy has been using the term “nice” very frequently both as an
expression of her feeling about something and her request for
concurrence. For example, in P99 or P98, after drawing on a piece of
paper, she asked “Nice?” and I agreed.

This evening she brought her bear to the bench of our picnic table and
said, “Nice.” Lifting her bear onto the bench and said “Nice…bear.”
(The pause between the adjective and noun is uncertain.”

“Nice bear” looks like a standard English phrase (as written), but is it?
I believe the anchor of the phrase is the primary thing, “nice” – with the
subsequent term “bear” appearing as the further specification of what
that feeling attaches to.

3V0701.1

3V0701.01 [Mine…Peggy…Peggy’s…back]:clear use of a possessive, but one where syntactic structure is decidedly subordinate to the context; Peggy’s picture (12/24/79)

I bought some Polaroid film the other day and today had taken a
picture of Peggy sitting with me in my chair. I set it on the piano to
develop completely. when her image appeared, Peggy was fascinated by
the picture, kept pointing to it saying “Peggy…picture.”

Later in the day, I retrieved the picture to protect it from seizure
(I gave Peggy another which she fingered and mouthed.) Peggy returned
to the piano several times and implored me for its return
“Back?…Back?…Peggy?”

Eventually I gave in, replacing the picture. When she saw it, she was
elated. “Mine…Peggy….Peggy’s….back.” I consider this a clear use of a
possessive, but one where the “syntactic” structure is decidedly
subordinate to the context. (The dots represent Peggy’s typical
inter-word gap. This caesura is what I identify in my mind as “frame-
swapping-time” — with the word produced as a consequence of a new
frame in control.)

3V0706.1

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

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

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

3V0706.2

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

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

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

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

3V0706.3

3V0706.03 [fork!…for-me]: example of bound preposition (12/29/79)

Peggy sat in her high chair. Miriam had made an open faced cheese
sandwich and given two pieces to Peggy. It is our custom to eat such
fare with our fingers. Peggy had put her fork on the table beyond
immediate reach.

Other of us ate food with a fork. Peggy began, “Fork ?…Fork?”, a
request to give her one. I said, “No, Peggy, you don’t need a fork. Eat it
with your fingers.” Peggy, nearly crying, said, “Fork? Fork?…for-me?”
This prepositional usage may be tightly bound to the pronoun as an
idiomatic form. How can we tell ?

3V0709.2

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

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