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Of course we also wait for the tones, the sounds, the precursors of words, and the words themselves. We do not wait for silence. It is already there. Often our baby sits on our lap, rolls over on the rug, or pulls himself up on a fencepost or the leg of a chair and is silent as he does so (not mute). The general objection to silence, the discomfort it brings to a convivial gathering — the baby relieves us of a feeling whose obtrusiveness we scarcely notice any more. But now we succeed in sitting still (not at all in the spirit in which we were compelled to “sit still!” on our school benches) in order to watch our baby as he does what he does. And if he suddenly emits a tone, a sound, the precursor of a word, these do not dispel the silence. (And we think: what begins as practice remains practice and ends as practice.)

 

 

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