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Re: way-OT: regularity of german v. english [was: Re: OT - Programming Languages w/o English Syntax]

Nori Heikkinen wrote:
on Fri, 24 Oct 2003 12:11:49PM -0700, Erik Steffl insinuated:

Nori Heikkinen wrote:

On Wed, Oct 22, 2003 at 06:47:13PM -0700, Erik Steffl insinuated:

Nori Heikkinen wrote:

on Sun, 19 Oct 2003 12:38:45PM -0700, Erik Steffl insinuated:


of course, you can create various complex and ambiguous sentences in english, the point is that you can take few forms of sentences and
have a working language (that's pretty much what BASIC (talking
about programming language) is).

you can do that in both languages.

let's say you have a function called isRed(x) (returns true if x is red). Now how would you call this function in german? it would never be in agreement with all possible x (grammatically).

how so not?
istRot( dieGabel )
istRot( dasMesser )
istRot( derLoeffel )

how are any of those less grammatical than their english equivalents:

isRed( theFork )
isRed( theKnife )
isRed( theSpoon )


not sure if this is the best example

nope, guess not.  try again if you're trying to make a coherent

- perhaps in this case it would be acceptable to use istRot,
regardless of gender of x.

in fact, in german, adjectives only agree with nouns if they
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE the noun.  so you have "die Gabel ist rot" (the
fork is red), but "die rote Gabel" (the red fork) -- note that the
feminine "-e" only applies to the adjective "rot" in the case in which
it immediately precedes the noun.

that's what I was confused about. doesn't Rot (in function name) immediately precede the noun? shouldn't the function name be
istRote(gabel)? I guess you could argue that even though it's
written istRote(gabel) it really is ist gabel rot (because that
would be proper question)

you just answered your own question here.  the implied sentence from
"istRot( gabel )" is "ist die Gabel rot?" -- and as you noted, in the
implied sentence, 'rot' does not immediately preced 'Gabel'.  note
that the exact same word-shuffling is necessary from *english* code to
an *english* grammatical sentence -- "isRed( fork )" --> "is the fork

you just illustrated the point i've been trying to make here -- in the
above two examples, neither english nor german code makes a
grammatical sentence.  both imply one, sure -- but that doesn't mean
either language is better suited to code than the other.

now, think of an example in which you encounter anything remotely like
full sentence structure in code, and try to apply this.  good luck.

 what about if the function name is verb? what if it's not a question?

 e.g. getRed(apple), or make(red, apple) etc.

boolisch bekommRot( Apfel ) { }
mach( rot, Apfel );

what's different from English about those two?  again, the implied
sentences are clear; the underlying code is equally as ungrammatical
in both.

  shoudn't rot in these cases follow gender of subject?

are you arguing that while in german language there has to be agreement in gender of verb/adjective and noun when you use german in computer language this need suddenly disappears?


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