Must programming languages be English ?

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Must programming languages be English ?

Dirk Laurie-2
2013/4/12 Miles Bader <[hidden email]>:

> Tim Hill <[hidden email]> writes:
>> Anyway, to my mind for non-native speakers it's not the keywords,
>> they can easily pick that up, it's the use of English words and
>> phrases as variable names.
...
> I've always found this kind of interesting, and I suppose perhaps it's
> because much programming literature is in English, or translated from
> English, and the English terms used for many abstractions and concepts
> are familiar even for non-English speakers.  Japanese terms for
> various concepts seem more common in conversation than in code, but
> even there, it's very common to hear both English and Japanese terms
> for the same thing used almost interchangeably.

2013/4/12 Laurent Faillie <[hidden email]>:

> Based on this experience, I'm writing now my own
> open-source code in english (even if I'm sure it's plenty of misspelling
> and mistake) because it's much easier if I have to share.

I was told by an APL enthusiast that back in the early days when IBM
was everything, a group of bright young students from francophone Africa
was sent to Yorktown Heights to learn computer programming.  Fortran
was deemed too hard for a first language, so they were taught COBOL. They
progressed much more slowly than the mostly white American students, and
all the racists around wore I-told-you-so expressions. Someone had the
bright idea of moving them to the APL group, then in its infancy. With
their French-style abstract mathematical training, they outstripped the
other students easily.

At least Lua programmers of whatever nationality can spell one eight-letter
English word correctly ("coroutine" and "metatable" seem not to be words
elsewhere).

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Laurent FAILLIE
Le 12/04/2013 12:05, Dirk Laurie a écrit :
> Someone had the bright idea of moving them to the APL group, then in
> its infancy. With their French-style abstract mathematical training,
> they outstripped the other students easily. At least Lua programmers
> of whatever nationality can spell one eight-letter English word
> correctly ("coroutine" and "metatable" seem not to be words elsewhere).
I know a bit APL but the problem with this language is it is totally
unreadable for people that don't know already it.
I mean *most* of current languages share the same vocables : "for",
"while", ... are quite common everywhere.  An IT Esperanto kind of :)

As I was mastering C and derivative (php, javascript, ...), I found no
difficulties to understand code wrote in Lua (obviously, writing
something is another story :) ), but APL code looks like to me a Martian
language from outer-space for me.

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Justin Cormack
In reply to this post by Dirk Laurie-2


On 12 Apr 2013 11:06, "Dirk Laurie" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> 2013/4/12 Miles Bader <[hidden email]>:
>
> > Tim Hill <[hidden email]> writes:
> >> Anyway, to my mind for non-native speakers it's not the keywords,
> >> they can easily pick that up, it's the use of English words and
> >> phrases as variable names.
> ...
> > I've always found this kind of interesting, and I suppose perhaps it's
> > because much programming literature is in English, or translated from
> > English, and the English terms used for many abstractions and concepts
> > are familiar even for non-English speakers.  Japanese terms for
> > various concepts seem more common in conversation than in code, but
> > even there, it's very common to hear both English and Japanese terms
> > for the same thing used almost interchangeably.
>
> 2013/4/12 Laurent Faillie <[hidden email]>:
>
> > Based on this experience, I'm writing now my own
> > open-source code in english (even if I'm sure it's plenty of misspelling
> > and mistake) because it's much easier if I have to share.
>
> I was told by an APL enthusiast that back in the early days when IBM
> was everything, a group of bright young students from francophone Africa
> was sent to Yorktown Heights to learn computer programming.  Fortran
> was deemed too hard for a first language, so they were taught COBOL. They
> progressed much more slowly than the mostly white American students, and
> all the racists around wore I-told-you-so expressions. Someone had the
> bright idea of moving them to the APL group, then in its infancy. With
> their French-style abstract mathematical training, they outstripped the
> other students easily.
>
> At least Lua programmers of whatever nationality can spell one eight-letter
> English word correctly ("coroutine" and "metatable" seem not to be words
> elsewhere).
>

There is an interesting discussion of this in the Coding Places book http://codingplaces.net/ in the context of Lua.

Justin

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Paul E. Merrell, J.D.
Hi, all,

There is some interesting international law on this topic although it
should be noted that there have been no decisions so far by the World
Trade Organization's Appellate Body that have applied this law to
software standards. However, the applicability of the law to software
standards is generally agreed. Moreover, it should be understood that
the treaty is widely ignored; it's still a fairly young treaty as
these things go.

(Skip ahead to "DISCUSSION" if you'd like to forego reading the quoted law.)

Under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade [1] (ratified and
in force in the vast majority of nations), Article 2 provides in
relevant part:

"2.1        Members shall ensure that in respect of technical
regulations, products imported from the territory of any Member shall
be accorded treatment no less favourable than that accorded to like
products of national origin and to like products originating in any
other country.

"2.2        *Members shall ensure that technical regulations are not
prepared, adopted or applied with a view to or with the effect of
creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade.*  For this
purpose, technical regulations shall not be more trade-restrictive
than necessary to fulfil a legitimate objective, taking account of the
risks non-fulfilment would create.  Such legitimate objectives are,
inter alia:  national security requirements;  the prevention of
deceptive practices;  protection of human health or safety, animal or
plant life or health, or the environment.  In assessing such risks,
relevant elements of consideration are, inter alia:  available
scientific and technical information, related processing technology or
intended end-uses of products.

"2.3        Technical regulations shall not be maintained if the
circumstances or objectives giving rise to their adoption no longer
exist or if the changed circumstances or objectives can be addressed
in a *less trade-restrictive manner."*

Under Article 4:

"4.1        *Members* shall ensure that their central government
standardizing bodies accept and comply with the Code of Good Practice
for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards in Annex 3
to this Agreement (referred to in this Agreement as the “Code of Good
Practice”). They *shall take such reasonable measures as may be
available to them to ensure that* local government and
*non-governmental standardizing bodies within their territories,* as
well as regional standardizing bodies of which they or one or more
bodies within their territories are members, accept and *comply with
this Code of Good Practice.* In addition, Members shall not take
measures which have the effect of, directly or indirectly, requiring
or encouraging such standardizing bodies to act in a manner
inconsistent with the Code of Good Practice. *The obligations of
Members with respect to compliance of standardizing bodies with the
provisions of the Code of Good Practice shall apply irrespective of
whether or not a standardizing body has accepted the Code of Good
Practice.*

And in the Code of Good Practice itself:

"D.        In respect of standards, the standardizing body shall
accord treatment to products originating in the territory of any other
Member of the WTO no less favourable than that accorded to like
products of national origin and to like products originating in any
other country.

"E.        *The standardizing body shall ensure that standards are not
prepared, adopted or applied* with a view to, or *with the effect of*,
creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade."*


DISCUSSION

Bypassing a lot of explanation of reasons, I think it almost certain
that the WTO Appellate Body would find -- if asked to decide whether
the specification for a programming language is a standard --- that it
is a standard subject to the treaty.

The question would then devolve to whether a specification for a
programming language derived in part from a particular human language
constitutes an "unnecessary obstacle[] to international trade."  I'll
treat it as a given that dependence on the ASCII character set and
English language phrases creates obstacles to international trade for
nations whose predominant human written language is not English and/or
requires different character sets.

The "unnecessary" adjective in the "unnecessary obstacles to
international trade" phrase then becomes the key to unlocking the
legal puzzle, i.e., is the obstacle created by dependence on a
particular human language unavoidable , or in the language of the
treaty, is it the least "trade-restrictive manner" to fulfill the
programming language's raison d'être?

And that in turn boils down to the question of whether it is
technically possible to design the programming language such that the
particular human language dependency is unnecessary?

I'll leave that technical question for people wiser than me to answer;
but the above summarizes the surrounding legal framework.

Best regards,

Paul

[1] Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade,
<http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/17-tbt_e.htm>.

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Oliver Schneider
In reply to this post by Dirk Laurie-2
Responding to the question in the subject.

No: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjölnir_(programming_language)>!

But the programming languages based on English outnumber the others by
far:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Non-English-based_programming_languages>

Worse than the keywords I personally find that languages like C, C++,
Java, JavaScript, C# make the language hard to type on non-English
keyboard layouts. Characters like [] and {} aren't easy to type on many
layouts. It's why digraphs and trigraphs were invented, but they don't
really help readability (and subsequently maintainability).

Certainly one doesn't have to know the language in order to learn a
handful of keywords.

Just my two cents,

// Oliver

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Tim Hill
In reply to this post by Paul E. Merrell, J.D.
It would be interesting to see how far they got with this bureaucratic madness:

Musical scores use annotations (translation: keywords) typically in italian (Con Brio, Allegro etc.). Are these too to be translated? What about french terms in recipes? Saute? What about ballet terms?

In fact, imho we are drifting radially toward english being the de facto world technical language. No-one in India or China would dream of entering into computer programming without being able to read English (been there, talked to them). Yes, they are not necessarily happy TALKING in English, but they can read it pretty well.

Don't know if this is good or bad, it's always sad when a culture becomes too homogeneous.

--Tim



On Apr 12, 2013, at 1:59 PM, marbux <[hidden email]> wrote:

The "unnecessary" adjective in the "unnecessary obstacles to
international trade" phrase then becomes the key to unlocking the
legal puzzle, i.e., is the obstacle created by dependence on a
particular human language unavoidable , or in the language of the
treaty, is it the least "trade-restrictive manner" to fulfill the
programming language's raison d'être?

And that in turn boils down to the question of whether it is
technically possible to design the programming language such that the
particular human language dependency is unnecessary?

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Vaughan McAlley-2
In reply to this post by Oliver Schneider
On 13 April 2013 11:17, Oliver Schneider <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Certainly one doesn't have to know the language in order to learn a
> handful of keywords.

Indeed, I have a thorough knowledge of Italian musical terms, and
though they have occasionally been helpful when in Italy, it doesn’t
mean my Italian language skills are beyond the very basic.

Computer language grammar is so rigid compared to natural English that
I would say that there is not much of an advantage for English
speakers, at least as far as grammar is concerned. Programming
concepts are foreign to all non-programmers (and ‘metatable’ is as
meaningless to a native English-speaking non-programmer as it would be
to a Tibetan monk non-programmer).

That said, Lua seems to be the only language I’ve used where I don’t
have to pretty much relearn the grammar again from scratch after a
long break from using it.

Vaughan

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Dirk Laurie-2
2013/4/13 Vaughan McAlley <[hidden email]>:

> That said, Lua seems to be the only language I’ve used where I don’t
> have to pretty much relearn the grammar again from scratch after a
> long break from using it.

Pascal too. The first time I saw Lua, I thought Pascal look-and-feel,
Python power. I now realise that both those impressions sell Lua
short :-)

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

petah
In reply to this post by Tim Hill
this thread should be transferred to another forum but I can't help it...

>Musical scores use annotations (translation: keywords) typically in italian (Con Brio, Allegro etc.). Are these too to be translated? What about french terms in recipes? Saute? What about ballet terms?

Many terms get (mis-)translated when acquired by other cultures, then mutate. It's part of natural language evolution. F.ex. when US-English doesn't garble a dish's name (Bretzel vs Pretzel) it butchers the recipe itself, which is arguably worse. Unfortunately, neither can be prevented.

>In fact, imho we are drifting radially toward english being the de facto world technical language.

Not in France, it's riddled with ridiculous equivalencies established decades ago by former culture secretary Jack Lang "to fend off Anglo-Saxon imperialism". Great for deriding bilingual friends though. A German cellphone is a "handy". A Spanish geek is a "friki" (unrelated to phreak).

Anyway, "byte" was an English pun before becoming an official term.

>No-one in India or China would dream of entering into computer programming without being able to read English (been there, talked to them). Yes, they are not necessarily happy TALKING in English, but they can read it pretty well.

Some bigwig linguist, Chomsky maybe, predicted we'll end up speaking the same language but it'll be a horribly bastardized form of English, Chinese, Russian and slang ("worse than in Blade Runner").

>Don't know if this is good or bad, it's always sad when a culture becomes too homogeneous.

True but so is the reverse; many regional Spanish dialects are so indistinguishable that their main purpose seems to be populist politics. Valencia airport subway signs are only in Valenciá and Castellano ("taxi" will do).

Wrt programming languages, a Geneva university professor once told us he was sticking to the old Pascal version (invented 60km away) "until the French version was updated". He also thought the PowerPC was "too new" when it came out and before integrating it in the curriculum wanted to wait a few years "to be on the safe side".

:)

-- p

>On Apr 12, 2013, at 1:59 PM, marbux <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> The "unnecessary" adjective in the "unnecessary obstacles to
>> international trade" phrase then becomes the key to unlocking the
>> legal puzzle, i.e., is the obstacle created by dependence on a
>> particular human language unavoidable , or in the language of the
>> treaty, is it the least "trade-restrictive manner" to fulfill the
>> programming language's raison d'être?
>>
>> And that in turn boils down to the question of whether it is
>> technically possible to design the programming language such that the
>> particular human language dependency is unnecessary?
>

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Michael Richter
In reply to this post by Tim Hill
On 13 April 2013 10:48, Tim Hill <[hidden email]> wrote:
In fact, imho we are drifting radially toward english being the de facto world technical language. No-one in India or China would dream of entering into computer programming without being able to read English (been there, talked to them). Yes, they are not necessarily happy TALKING in English, but they can read it pretty well.

Chinese programmers can read (and even speak) English, yes, but they don't necessarily like it.  (They're forced to learn it to get their degrees.  This can and does cause resentment in some circles.)  The fact that you've been here and talked to "them" only means that you, an English speaker, talked to, shockingly, English-speaking computer programmers.

I personally know a couple of dozen local hackers who rarely use English except when forced to by circumstances.  Their code uses, where practical, Chinese naming of variables and routines (often resorting to Hanyu Pinyin when identifiers can't be done in 汉字) and much of their learning materials are written in Chinese.  (You'd be amazed at how many books are translated quite quickly into Chinese these days.  O'Reilly, for example, seems to translate much of their stock into Chinese within a year of publication if the local bookshelves are anything to go by.)

The assumption that "English is the language of software" is one that's going to bite people in the posterior sometime.

--
"Perhaps people don't believe this, but throughout all of the discussions of entering China our focus has really been what's best for the Chinese people. It's not been about our revenue or profit or whatnot."
--Sergey Brin, demonstrating the emptiness of the "don't be evil" mantra.
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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Laurent FAILLIE
In reply to this post by petah
Le 13/04/2013 14:13, petah a écrit :
> Not in France, it's riddled with ridiculous equivalencies established
> decades ago by former culture secretary Jack Lang "to fend off
> Anglo-Saxon imperialism". Great for deriding bilingual friends though.
Well some terms never succeeded (like "ramdam" vs "buzz"), but some
other imposed by themselves to avoid ambiguity. The best example is
"octet" : nobody here use "byte" and it is becoming an international
standard as well.
But our cousins from Quebec are more extremist than we are : probably to
react to English pressure from the rest of Canada and US.

In some domains, people are abusing of English terms  only to be "hype"
... but are failing totally ridiculous : everybody laugh when listening
a snowboarder saying "J'étais en snow, et j'ai pris un super Jump avec
ma board" ... Hahahahaa !
Especially because both "snow" (here shortcut of snowboard) and "board"
counterpart is "surf" which is already an English term incorporated in
French.

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

petah
>Le 13/04/2013 14:13, petah a écrit :
>> Not in France, it's riddled with ridiculous equivalencies established
>> decades ago by former culture secretary Jack Lang "to fend off
>> Anglo-Saxon imperialism". Great for deriding bilingual friends though.
>Well some terms never succeeded (like "ramdam" vs "buzz"), but some
>other imposed by themselves to avoid ambiguity. The best example is
>"octet" : nobody here use "byte" and it is becoming an international
>standard as well.

Yes it makes more sense but try to argue the Swiss/Belgian 70/90 with a Frenchman :) Also octet predates techno-cultural interventionism.

>But our cousins from Quebec are more extremist than we are : probably to
>react to English pressure from the rest of Canada and US.

I don't mind, it's a blast to hear. When a European bilingual friend lets slip "télécharger un fichier" I ask if it's from a server in Quebec. Every time.

>In some domains, people are abusing of English terms  only to be "hype"

"Hype" (for "hip") is a terrible embarrassment. "Pin's" too. Fake French in US media takes the prize though.

>... but are failing totally ridiculous : everybody laugh when listening
>a snowboarder saying "J'étais en snow, et j'ai pris un super Jump avec
>ma board" ... Hahahahaa !

I guess I'm out of the loop, to me it sounds French-Canadian (Boards of Canada notwithstanding).

How off-topic are we yet?

-- p

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Enrico Colombini
On 13/04/2013 16.41, petah wrote:
> I don't mind, it's a blast to hear. When a European bilingual friend
> lets slip "télécharger un fichier" I ask if it's from a server in
> Quebec. Every time.

This matter was a problem for me when I had a job interview in French
with a game developer in France: I was in doubt about the language to
use for technical terms.

I chose to say them in French to err on the safe side, but sometimes I
had trouble understanding when they used an English term in the middle
of a French sentence: I was so 'tuned' on French that I tried to decode
that sound as if it had been a French word... and failed miserably :-)

--
   Enrico

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

William Ahern
In reply to this post by Vaughan McAlley-2
On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 02:02:35PM +1000, Vaughan McAlley wrote:

> On 13 April 2013 11:17, Oliver Schneider <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Certainly one doesn't have to know the language in order to learn a
> > handful of keywords.
>
> Indeed, I have a thorough knowledge of Italian musical terms, and
> though they have occasionally been helpful when in Italy, it doesn’t
> mean my Italian language skills are beyond the very basic.
>
> Computer language grammar is so rigid compared to natural English that
> I would say that there is not much of an advantage for English
> speakers, at least as far as grammar is concerned. Programming
> concepts are foreign to all non-programmers (and ‘metatable’ is as
> meaningless to a native English-speaking non-programmer as it would be
> to a Tibetan monk non-programmer).

I suspect the real problem is orthography, not spelling. I suck at foreign
languages, but I've read German and Spanish code no problem. I'd be
completely lost trying to read code using descriptive Hanzi or Kanji
identifiers.

Which is why I now appreciate short identifiers. For complex code no amount
of descriptive identifers or comments can substitute for modeling the
program in your mind. At that point what matters most is dense and concise
code.


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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Sean Conner
In reply to this post by Tim Hill
It was thus said that the Great Tim Hill once stated:
> It would be interesting to see how far they got with this bureaucratic
> madness:
>
> Musical scores use annotations (translation: keywords) typically in
> italian (Con Brio, Allegro etc.). Are these too to be translated? What
> about french terms in recipes? Saute? What about ballet terms?

  For whatever reason, Italy "owns" music, France "owns" food, and for what
it's worth, the US "owns" computers [1].

  It's entirely possible for a non-US country to invent a computer language
[2]  that's not based on English.  Håstad anyone? [3]

        (*
            Thanks to wlofie for translating the code
            from Pascal
            into Håstad
        *)

        medan not_done
        börja
          för x:= 1 till 5 gör
          börja
            om person^.age = 120 så
              too_old(person);
            om person^.age > 130 så
              gåtill person_should_be_dead;
          slut;
        slut;

I might not like it, but I could get used to it [4].  But I doubt it will be
popular world wide due to US influence [5].  But hey, if Sweeden has as much
influence these days as the US, then we might be all programming in Håstad
instead of Lua [6].

  -spc (Bjork bjork bjork!)

[1] In a similar way, the only country that makes stamps without the
        country name printed on it is England, but that's because they
        created the things.  It's not to say that Italy "created" music, but
        they probably did the most innovative things that everyone else
        wanted, and thus, we ended up with Italian terms for music.

[2] Yes, I know not all computer languages are not created in the US.  

[3] Which I created to make a point:
        http://boston.conman.org/2008/01/04.1

[4] Five years later, and I *think* I reversed engineered that "gåtill"
        must be "return".  It's the only thing that makes sense in that
        context.

[5] And the United Kingdom, which "owned" a full quarter of the world
        about a hundred years ago.

[6] Ha!

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Henning Diedrich
In reply to this post by petah

On Apr 13, 2013, at 4:41 PM, petah <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Le 13/04/2013 14:13, petah a écrit :
>>> Not in France, it's riddled with ridiculous equivalencies established
>>> decades ago by former culture secretary Jack Lang "to fend off
>>> Anglo-Saxon imperialism". Great for deriding bilingual friends though.

[.. ]

> How off-topic are we yet?
>

It kind of loops back at that point maybe: German borrows from English all that it can, across all fields. The reason might be that if you import a foreign language word, then there is no ambiguity what it means. Even if it's silly sometimes but e.g. "For-Schleife", "Return", "Double Word" etc, it can't mean anything else, which can help here and there. English keywords could make the conversation clearer for non-English speakers.

And talking about IT stuff can be difficult enough at times.

Henning


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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Robert Virding
In reply to this post by Sean Conner
"gåtill" means goto, literally gå = go and till = to.

A bit strange that the example uses a swedish language with english names. It should really be:

    medan inte_färdigt
    börja
      för x:= 1 till 5 gör
      börja
        om person^.ålder = 120 så
          för_gammal(person);
        om person^.ålder > 130 så
          gåtill personen_borde_var_död;
      slut;
    slut;

Robert

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Sean Conner" <[hidden email]>
> To: "Lua mailing list" <[hidden email]>
> Sent: Saturday, 13 April, 2013 10:22:59 PM
> Subject: Re: Must programming languages be English ?
>
> It was thus said that the Great Tim Hill once stated:
> > It would be interesting to see how far they got with this
> > bureaucratic
> > madness:
> >
> > Musical scores use annotations (translation: keywords) typically in
> > italian (Con Brio, Allegro etc.). Are these too to be translated?
> > What
> > about french terms in recipes? Saute? What about ballet terms?
>
>   For whatever reason, Italy "owns" music, France "owns" food, and
>   for what
> it's worth, the US "owns" computers [1].
>
>   It's entirely possible for a non-US country to invent a computer
>   language
> [2]  that's not based on English.  Håstad anyone? [3]
>
> (*
>    Thanks to wlofie for translating the code
>    from Pascal
>    into Håstad
> *)
>
> medan not_done
> börja
>  för x:= 1 till 5 gör
>  börja
>    om person^.age = 120 så
>      too_old(person);
>    om person^.age > 130 så
>      gåtill person_should_be_dead;
>  slut;
> slut;
>
> I might not like it, but I could get used to it [4].  But I doubt it
> will be
> popular world wide due to US influence [5].  But hey, if Sweeden has
> as much
> influence these days as the US, then we might be all programming in
> Håstad
> instead of Lua [6].
>
>   -spc (Bjork bjork bjork!)
>
> [1] In a similar way, the only country that makes stamps without the
> country name printed on it is England, but that's because they
> created the things.  It's not to say that Italy "created" music, but
> they probably did the most innovative things that everyone else
> wanted, and thus, we ended up with Italian terms for music.
>
> [2] Yes, I know not all computer languages are not created in the US.
>
> [3] Which I created to make a point:
> http://boston.conman.org/2008/01/04.1
>
> [4] Five years later, and I *think* I reversed engineered that
> "gåtill"
> must be "return".  It's the only thing that makes sense in that
> context.
>
> [5] And the United Kingdom, which "owned" a full quarter of the world
> about a hundred years ago.
>
> [6] Ha!
>
>

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Henning Diedrich

On Apr 13, 2013, at 10:37 PM, Robert Virding <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A bit strange that the example uses a swedish language with english names. I

Maybe not. Because it clarifies what's a keyword of the language and what is a variable.

A helpful aspect when introducing a language with a small example (which may or may not be where the snipped came from.)

It's only vice versa than usual -- though probably unfamiliar to native English speakers.

Henning
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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Marco Salamone
> The assumption that "English is the language of software" is one that's going to bite people in the posterior sometime.

I don't know, English has some intrinsic advantages that give it an edge. It's very unambiguous when it comes to parts of speech and the order of words matters. In many European languages, it's a formal practice to end with verbs, but it isn't required. You can put the verb anywhere in most cases and your sentence still makes sense. Also, transitives in English aren't modified by nor do they modify the endings of words. Context can especially be a lot less ambiguous in English. It's probably considered a tricky language because it tends to be literal and explicit, whereas languages like Chinese are full of idioms and implicit meanings. I've known of several non-English speakers that share the same language that prefer to discuss CS concepts in English, though this may not be the norm. I do know that Niklaus Wirth, a Swiss-man, created Pascal in English, despite having several languages at his disposal- including German, which is pretty darn good for logic.


On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Henning Diedrich <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Apr 13, 2013, at 10:37 PM, Robert Virding <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A bit strange that the example uses a swedish language with english names. I

Maybe not. Because it clarifies what's a keyword of the language and what is a variable.

A helpful aspect when introducing a language with a small example (which may or may not be where the snipped came from.)

It's only vice versa than usual -- though probably unfamiliar to native English speakers.

Henning

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Re: Must programming languages be English ?

Robert Virding
I suppose that in one sense a language like APL is the easiest to "internationalise" as it uses symbols instead of words. It is possible for most (all?) languages but it does introduce a steeper learning curve and can scare people off.

Robert


From: "Marco Salamone" <[hidden email]>
To: "Lua mailing list" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Saturday, 13 April, 2013 11:06:56 PM
Subject: Re: Must programming languages be English ?

> The assumption that "English is the language of software" is one that's going to bite people in the posterior sometime.

I don't know, English has some intrinsic advantages that give it an edge. It's very unambiguous when it comes to parts of speech and the order of words matters. In many European languages, it's a formal practice to end with verbs, but it isn't required. You can put the verb anywhere in most cases and your sentence still makes sense. Also, transitives in English aren't modified by nor do they modify the endings of words. Context can especially be a lot less ambiguous in English. It's probably considered a tricky language because it tends to be literal and explicit, whereas languages like Chinese are full of idioms and implicit meanings. I've known of several non-English speakers that share the same language that prefer to discuss CS concepts in English, though this may not be the norm. I do know that Niklaus Wirth, a Swiss-man, created Pascal in English, despite having several languages at his disposal- including German, which is pretty darn good for logic.


On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM, Henning Diedrich <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Apr 13, 2013, at 10:37 PM, Robert Virding <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A bit strange that the example uses a swedish language with english names. I

Maybe not. Because it clarifies what's a keyword of the language and what is a variable.

A helpful aspect when introducing a language with a small example (which may or may not be where the snipped came from.)

It's only vice versa than usual -- though probably unfamiliar to native English speakers.

Henning


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