Re: compiler for Chinese development language

torbenm@app-6.diku.dk (=?iso-8859-1?q?Torben_=C6gidius_Mogensen?=)
19 Oct 2005 02:33:38 -0400

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From: torbenm@app-6.diku.dk (=?iso-8859-1?q?Torben_=C6gidius_Mogensen?=)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 19 Oct 2005 02:33:38 -0400
Organization: Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen
References: 05-10-085 05-10-096 05-10-107
Keywords: i18n

"Ganny" <sgganesh@gmail.com> writes:


> I do agree that you can provide all your identifiers with native
> characters (Unicode). But how about those who dont know English? the
> keywords such as "public" or "synchronized" can be obvious and taken
> for granted for those who know some English, but there are many
> (probably in millions in countries like China and India) who know only
> their native language.
>
> Ok, one basic question. Why is that the programming languages (like
> C++) have reserved keywords in English? Why not some other
> language/alternative?
>
> [Historically, modern software development started in the US and UK, where
> people speak English. At least as far back as the early 1960s there were
> versions of programming languages with the keywords other languages, but
> they never caught on. A compiler doesn't care of an "if" keyword is
> the two letters IF or SI or the Chinese equivalent, after all. -John]


In most cases, the actual English-language meaning of a keyword is
only a reminder of what it means in the programming language -- you
can't really understand "public" in Java just by knowing its English
language meaning, you need to know the semantics of it in the context
of Java scope rules. Hence, I don't really think it is much of a
problem that keywords are in English even if you don't speak English.
In some sens, it may be an advantage, as you are not confused by the
broader meaning of the English word. For example, "throwing an
exception" doesn't really make sense in everyday English.


That said, it might be preferable to use language-neutral ideograms to
represent keywords (in the APL spirit), much like you use such symbols
for traffic signs and sport events. The main problem would be
accessing such ideograms from unmodified keyboards, but various
keyboard shortcuts combined with selection from menus could work.


                Torben


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