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Archive with last of tag-string Q7


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

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

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

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


3V0550.02 /va/va’/ (7/26/79)

out walking with Peggy, we heard (but did not see) a dog bark. Peggy
pointed in the general direction of the sound and said /va/va’/.


3V0550.03 Lily Pads (7/26/79)

Peggy and I went down to the lake with the older children. They swim
and Peggy potters and patters about. At one point Peggy pointed in the
direction of the lily pads just to the left of the beach area and said,
[what is that]. I repeated the question and told her “that” was lily pads.


3V0552.01 [up stairs] : (07/28/79)

Downstairs: “Peggy, where are you going ?” [up – stairs] Gretchen.


3V0555.01 [Car, car, go, go]: (07/31/79)

I was taking Peggy and Scurry for a walk. I carried Peggy out to the
garage and seated her in the stroller. Peggy waved her hand around and
cried, “Ca’, ca’, go ca’,” indicating she wanted to go for a ride. She has
often said “Ca'” under those circumstances, but never before “Go ca’.”
Walking up the street we came to a place where there are dogs on both
sides, a sheltie and a beagle. Whenever we pass, the sheltie growls at us
and the beagle barks. Neither dog happened to be outside. Peggy
looked from one side to the other, the remarked inquiringly, “Vava’.”
She obviously expected those dogs and wanted to know where they
were. Gretchen.


3V0556.01 Toothbrush: 08/01/79;

Playing on my bed, looking at the older children’s pictures, Peggy saw
my ‘traveling’ toothbrush on the adjacent dresser top. “Have that, have
that” was her cry and I did not stop her from taking it.

Peggy picked up the toothbrush by the handle, examined the bristles,
then tentatively opened her mouth and put the brush sideways on her
tongue. (This mouth insertion was definitely NOT the lip-exploration-
mouthing Peggy usually applies to objects.) When she looked at me, I
laughed, ‘that’s right, Peggy.” She moved the brush a little in her
mouth then brought it out, rubbing the bristles once against her
stomach; she then replaced the toothbrush on the dresser.

Peggy did NOT confuse this brush with any hairbrush (though she is
used to some small ones). The children have not given Peggy any
instruction or practice in brushing teeth. Gretchen and I have not done
so. This is clearly a case of function definition of a specific object
based on observation. (This should not surprise us. Peggy obtrudes into
bathrooms whenever she can to watch people do strange things where
she has nothing to do but rip toilet paper off the roll.)


3V0558.01 Cookie: 08/03/79;

Peggy’s way of expressing her want of a cookie has been for months to
come to the base of a cabinet where they are usually found or known
to be then to point (often rising on tip toe) and repeat
/aenh/aenh/aenh/ with a tone of desperation in her voice.
She has, of course, smiled in delighted affirmation when Gretchen
asked if she wanted a cookie on various other occasions. Today Peggy
came to her favorite cabinet, gestured, and said very clearly /KaKi/
(not KuKi).


3V0558.02 Hi and waving : 08/03/79;

Over the past several weeks, Peggy had delighted in waving good-bye to
another who approaches our main door. She also waves (at me, I know)
when I enter the house and say, “Hi, Peggy, I’m glad to see you.” She
also waves good-bye when going up to bed or for a diaper change (if

I don’t know the extent to which she joins utterance and gesture in
these situations — it is clearly something we should look for.


3V0558.03 Mama! : 08/03/79;

As Gretchen noted earlier [6/26], Peggy would call “Mama,” using that
word when she wanted Gretchen. What is noteworthy now is more the
frequency of Peggy’s use than its early appearances. NOW, any time she
wants anything of Gretchen, Peggy calls “Mama!”


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.”


3V0562.01 Where dada : 08/07/79;

Bob went up to Boston yesterday morning. This afternoon Peggy came
into our bedroom and looked around, especially at his chair, and said,
“Where Dada’.”

Today (8/11) Bob has gone again, and Peggy has been wandering
around off and on calling Dada, sometimes imperiously, sometimes


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

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

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


3V0566.01 Twirling : 08/11/79;

Peggy enjoys “dancing” whenever I play a recording of fast music. To
her basic step — a bobbing at the knees (with feet firmly planted)
conjoined with a waving of arms — Peggy has now added a second,
turning in place. I can’t document the source of this twirling, but I
suspect it imitates the spinning dizzy game Robby and Miriam have
long played.


3V0567.01 A Complex Sentence; Comprehension of complex sentences (?) :

After release from her high chair, Peggy will come begging food at the
table. This is especially true where Gretchen and I stay long after the
meal is past. This evening Peggy came asking for a wheat thin ([that!
that!]). I gave her a cracker and (knowing she likes best of all the
cheese we spread on them) said, “If you want some cheese on that, go
to your mama.” Peggy looked at the cracker, then over to Gretchen.
Speeding around the table, Peggy gave her cracker to Gretchen and as
Gretchen reached out with her knife, Peggy said [cheese! cheese!].
Receiving the covered cracker, Peggy turned it on end and scraped the
cheese off the surface with her teeth.


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”

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.


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

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


3V0569.02 Putting On : 08/14/79;

Peggy removed the plastic cover from a package of latchhook yarn. She
has played with these before over the past two months. The cover is a
cylindrical piece of plastic about 2 in. high and 2 in. in diameter as a
circle, just right for Peggy to use as a wristband or bracelet. She did
just as I expected, placing it on one wrist, saying (unexpectedly) as she
did so, “On.” I asked if she could take it OFF and she readily complied.


3V0569.03 Cup: [cup, cup…thaets (=thanks)] : 08/14/79;

As I carried Peggy, protesting, up to bed, we passed the dining table and
Peggy cried, “Cup, cup.” (Well articulated, with both ‘c’ and ‘p’
distinct.) Her weighted cup was on the table, with some milk in it. I
gave it her and she said, “Dats [thanks]” and drank the milk. Gretchen.


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

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


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

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

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


3V0574.02 “One” : 08/19/79;

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

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


3V0575.01 “Duff”: 08/20/79;

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

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

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

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


3V0576.01 Up: [up] two examples of spontaneous use.: 08/21/79;

Today Peggy came to me, held up her arms, and said, “Up.” I picked her up.

08/28 — As I wrote the above, Peggy came over to the bed, sketched a
climbing motion, and said, “Up.” Gretchen.


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

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

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

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


3V0578.02 “On” : 08/23/79;

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


3V0579.01 “On, on on” : 08/24/79;

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


3V0582.01 [up] = “on top of” in play with toy car;
issues ascription of insight about “up”. 8/27/79

Playing with a “matchbox racer”, Peggy pushed the little car along the
floor, up the vertical walls of the glass door, over 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” and these two observations, we
see Peggy clearly apply three distinct meanings of “up.” The
occurrence of them within the 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, on of word
comprehensions, 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.

In addition to this descriptive use of “up,” 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 precendent to her sitting in my lap.


3V0583.01 [me]: contrast with relation words.

This word is significant in contrast with the preceding relation words
because it can only mean one thing. As we five sat at table over lunch
that Peggy at one point turned her finger to her chest, pointing, and
said “me”. I don’t recall the details of context but remarked that her
use of “me” was unequivocal and standard.

One would not expect Peggy to recognize that “me” in another person’s
speech is reflexive… or maybe she would. (Try “me have that”


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


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

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


3V0586.01 [me]: clear and specific example of use. 8/31/79

“Me” Coming to me at bedtime to be picked up, after a hug and my
turning her back to Gretchen, Peggy pointed perpendicularly at the
porch and made an exclamation of surprise. I could see nothing but
furniture on the porch and asked “What do you see, Peggy ?” “Me”, she


3V0586.02 /bae/bae/: general purpose word (noun) where /thaet/ was the general word of imperious force. 8/31/79

Over the past week or two, this sound pattern has taken over Peggy’s
speech. It seems to have replaced /thaet/ in the latter’s application as
the general pronoun, i.e. “baba” may refer to Peggy’s Teddy Bear, my
pillow, a desired cookie or whatever. The latter is especially striking
because “cookie” has long been stable in Peggy’s lexicon.

Relevance: Speculation: Baba has become the general noun where
/thaet/ was the general utterance, sentence, or phrase.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


3V0587.02 [I threw it]:

Before the incident described above (in Vignette V0586A), Peggy,
Gretchen and I sat in the living room, Peggy playing with Gretchen’s
wallet. She picked it up and threw it across the room, under a chair. I
censured her “No, Peggy, no. Don’t do that.” She responded, talking to
herself it seems [I threw it]

The difficulty in interpreting this utterance is its lack of clarity (my
memory also). Was the vowel /o/ or /u/ ? or did I say “Don’t throw
things.” Did this really happen before the preceding incident or after it ?
Gretchen ? (no note made in response.)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


3V0588.03 /wae/thaet/: interpretation question “what’s that? ” or “wash that” (cf. note # 3V593.1) 9/2/79

While Peggy was playing in the kitchen, Gretchen washed out a large old
diaper pail we use for trash. It was not on the floor and vertical, in
which place and position Peggy knew it well, so I interpreted her
questions /wae/thaet/? to mean [what’s that?]

Gretchen’s interpretation was different. She heard Peggy describing her
activity, i.e. [wash that.]


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


3V0597.01 [sharp]: diaper pins

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


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

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

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


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

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

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