Re: OT - Programming Languages w/o English Syntax
At Wed, 22 Oct 2003 16:24:44 -0700,
Vineet Kumar wrote:
> [1 <text/plain; us-ascii (quoted-printable)>]
> * csj (firstname.lastname@example.org) [031018 03:22]:
> > At Fri, 17 Oct 2003 17:28:44 -0600,
> > Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> > >
> > > On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 at 22:37 GMT, Erik Steffl penned:
> > > >
> > > > 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.
> > > >
> > > > This would be fairly hard todo in other languages that has
> > > > more irregular grammar (the ones I know anything about
> > > > have a lot more complicated/irregular grammar).
> > >
> > > Hrm. German and Latin are much more regular than English.
> > > French is, too, iirc. English has a *lot* of irregularity.
> > If regularity is what you want, nothing beats good old binary.
> > The first alien communication we'll download will probably be
> > written in it.
> binary is an encoding scheme, not a language. For instance,
> this English that I'm typing right now is stored and sent
> through the network as binary data. It's no less English. To
> say that something is written in binary doesn't mean all that
> much; it's the interpretation of the bits that gives any
> meaning to an otherwise arbitrary stream of bits.
All languages are encoding schemes. I encode my thoughts in the
English language for transmission to this ML.
> If you're reading this, it's because we've both agreed to
> interpret this particular stream of bits as an encoding of
> characters known as "ASCII".
If we understand each other, it's because we both agreed to
interpret this stream of characters as an instance of the English
language. This would be meaningless to somebody who knows, let's
say, only Chinese or Hindi.
> I highly doubt that any extraterrestrial transmission will
> arrive in ASCII. I'd predict just the opposite of your
> "probably": I think it's more likely that we'll get an analog
> signal that we can make some sense out of (probably it will
> "sound" like something) than a binary digital signal that we
> can decode into something other than noise.
Binary is simply the language of opposites: hot and cold, light
and dark, big and small, capitalist and communist. Any
intelligent civilization ought to have made such abstractions.
I can imagine an alien tranmission consisting of morse-code like
short and long light pulses in a pattern that distinguishes it
statistically from naturally occurring pulsars.