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Archive with last of tag-string W76


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

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

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

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


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

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


3V0536.01 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

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.”


3V0538.01 [read the story]: real importance of communication; (7/14/79)

The little golden book version of Madeline was brought out today.
Miriam attempted to read it to Peggy. Peggy’s attention soon wandered
[she perhaps did not feel great either, being sick with roseola; the
fever had gone and the rash was come] and she fussed at me, but
Miriam continued to read. Later in the day, Peggy and I were alone in
the living room. I was seated in the recliner. Peggy came to me, waving
Madeline and babbling. I began to listen, and heard her say, “read the
story”! Before Miriam had read aloud earlier, she had asked Peggy
slowly and clearly something like “Do you want to read a story? Shall I
read this story to you?” Gretchen.


Peggy Study, Panel P076

Themes: Objects & Pre-Counting, “Soccer”, Standard Objects
Source: (Lawler); date: 7/10/1979

Title: Pre-Counting,
Text commentary: Pre-Counting in ZPD; Precursor of later development.

P76A1 Pre-Counting w/Bob, 18mb

P76A2 Pre-Counting w/GPL, 24mb

P76A3 Pre-Counting w/GPL, 37mb

P76B “Soccer” w/Miriam, 6.1mb

P76C1 Standard Objects, 24mb

P76C2 Standard Objects, 31mb