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Re: OT - Programming Languages w/o English Syntax

On Fri, 2003-10-17 at 18:12, Don Werve wrote:
> On Fri, Oct 17, 2003 at 03:37:33PM -0700, Erik Steffl wrote:
> > 
> > english has a fairly simple a regular grammar so it's fairly easy to 
> > create english based programming language - the basic control structures 
> > are pretty much english sentences.
> > 
> Actually, English grammar is a nightmare to behold; there is no 
> consistent method of handling verb conjugations, and the structure of a
> sentence is integral to its meaning; you can't just randomly move words
> around in an English sentence and expect things to work.  The way a
> computer works at the low level (e.g., assembler and/or machine code) is
> actually much more similar to Japanese, where you have an action and the
> associate data stapled together in pairs, much like Japanese words are
> (nominally) paired with particles.
> The only reason that English-esque languages are prevalent is that, in
> the early days, most of the programmers were native English speakers,
> and as such, wrote tools and compilers that best fit their native
> linguistic models.  If computerdom had started in Germany, then I'd
> wager that we'd see more languages which used a German grammatic style.

And, as such, I think that trying to localize a programming language's
syntax would throw even native speakers of other languages off. My first
language was Serbo-Croatian (Commonly referred to as just Serbian since
the war during most of the 90's), and while I am very comfortable with
it, and perfectly fluent in it, I certainly wouldn't want to CODE in it!
:) I'd much rather write:

while (a == b) {
  if (c > d) {
    e = 1;
  }else {
    e = 0;

instead of:

док (а == б) {
  ако (ц > д) {
    е = 1;
  }иначе {
    е = 0;

Primarily because I know how to CODE in English, and therefore associate
logic structures with their English language counterparts. Besides, all
arguments of national identity notwithstanding, I believe that languages
are BARRIERS, not instruments of national identity. And since we don't
currently have any barriers in programming languages (at least, not as
prevalent as those in spoken languages), we shouldn't introduce new
Alex Malinovich
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