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Archive with last of tag-string W47

3V0329.1

3V0329.01 Pointing and imperative /dae/. Social rich interpretation. 12/17/78

POINTING AND NAMING — Over the last several days Peggy has been VERY cranky. She always wants to be picked up and makes this clear in two ways: she whines or cries; she crawls over and climbs up on your leg. New teeth are definitely coming in (but whether this is adequate to explain her crankiness I cannot say). In this general situation, it has been hard to pay attention to Peggy. But one development has surfaced. When Peggy wants some object she can see in your hands — a pipe for instance — she now reaches out, pointing with two fingers and she says /dae/ with an imperative tone. (She has been doing so for 2 or 3 days now. The frequency is declining and it may drop out of manifest common behaviors.)
This use may derive from the ‘thank you’ and ‘here’ with which we accompany the object exchange in Peggy’s giving. (The inflection of ‘here’ is usually imperative as in “Here. Take this.” as contrasted with the less directive ‘here.’

RELEVANCE — Having re-read the notes above, what I find strange and most in contrast, is the way we actually interpret what Peggy says. Children and grownups hear (assume) Peggy is saying /thaet/ (or is it /daet/?). We interpret what she appears to use in command as a verbal, further- specification — no = we interpret her pointing as a further specification of a nominal or prenomial reference to a thing which we assume she wants.

3V0329.2

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

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

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

3V0331.1

3V0331.01 Pointing and Naming. Comprehension evidence. 12/19

POINTING AND NAMING — Today I asked Peggy, “Where’s Peggy’s NOSE?” She brought her hand up to my nose [I don’t remember if she pointed; I think it was the whole hand] and very decisively said, “Da!” NOSE appeared to be the operative word.

3V0335.2

3V0335.02 Trapped fingers again (12/23/78)

Once again the box got her. Gretchen and I are beginning to be surprised that she can’t solve the problem (ie. fingers caught between lid and sides of the box; second hand leaning on the lid.)