|[8 earlier articles]|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction cfc@TheWorld.com (Chris F Clark) (2003-04-15)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction email@example.com (Joachim Durchholz) (2003-04-20)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction bobduff@shell01.TheWorld.com (Robert A Duff) (2003-04-20)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction bobduff@shell01.TheWorld.com (Robert A Duff) (2003-04-27)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction firstname.lastname@example.org (Ralph P. Boland) (2003-04-27)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction email@example.com (2003-04-27)|
|Re: parsing, was .NET Compiler for Interactive Fiction firstname.lastname@example.org (Joachim Durchholz) (2003-04-27)|
|From:||Joachim Durchholz <email@example.com>|
|Date:||27 Apr 2003 17:09:51 -0400|
|References:||03-02-125 03-02-147 03-03-043 03-03-061 03-03-103 03-04-006 03-04-028 03-04-046 03-04-066|
|Posted-Date:||27 Apr 2003 17:09:51 EDT|
> [I don't see why it's artificial. Human languages have very complex
> grammars. That's how we're wired to work. Why shouldn't computers
> adapt to us for a change? -John]
Human languages and computer languages are a very different turf.
Human languages evolve continually, and everybody (whether competent
or not) literally has a say in this evolution. Human languages are
tailored towards an interactive situation. They are good at specifying
just enough that an intelligent listener can usually infer what's
meant, and if there is doubt the listener can always ask.
Computer languages don't evolve, except in jumps and fits. They have a
formal specification (even if that specification is just a computer
program). The vast majority of computer language users has no say in
the evolution of the language. Computer languages are tailored
towards giving precise orders to an exceedingly dumb slave.
These differences are so massive that I don't think that computer
languages will ever approach natural language. Unless, of course,
computers manage to become as smart in conversation as a human - but
we're still /very/ far from that goal. I don't expect the conversant
computer to appear in my lifetime. (I don't even think that we know
well enough how human conversation works to even hope to mimick this
behaviour in a program.)
Just my 5c.
Currently looking for a new job.
[I wasn't trying to say that programming languages should try to mimic
human language; Cobol shows us about how far you can get in that
direction. But we clearly have the ability to handle some more
complex kinds of syntax than LL(1) does. For example, people don't
seem to have much trouble with languages that permit you to use reserved
words as identifiers, but parsing such languages using any of the tools
I know is excruciating. Look at PL/I which has an unambiguous syntax
but invariably uses a handwritten parser. -John]
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