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Archive with last of tag-string W84


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.”


Peggy Study, Panel P084

Themes: Language Development, Precursors of central cognitive skills.
Source: (Lawler); date: 9/3/1979

Text commentary: These clips show language development, encouragement of “loud thinking,” and precursors of quantity and inclusion.

P84A1 Ring Tower and Talk, 12mb

P84A2 Rings and Pockets, 18mb

P84B1 Blocks, etc., 25mb

P84B2 Peggy & Her Chair, 11mb

P84C1 Mixed Activities, 20mb

P84C2 Mixed Activities, 14mb

P84D1 Bean Bags & Cups: insertion, counting, 12mb

P84D2 Bean Bags & Cups: insertion, counting, 20mb

P84D3 Bean Bags & Cups: insertion, counting, 15mb