Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programming languages

"robin" <robin51@dodo.com.au>
Fri, 8 Jun 2012 00:03:51 +1000

          From comp.compilers

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From: "robin" <robin51@dodo.com.au>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2012 00:03:51 +1000
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 12-03-012 12-03-014 12-06-008
Keywords: i18n, comment

> Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson wrote


>Another limiting factor, not readily apparent to North Americans: the
>English language. Most, if not all, programming languages applied world
>wide are based on English, with keywords in English.


English is virtually the common world-wide language for computers,
in much the same way as English is the univeral language for pilots.


Nevertheless, some languages provide the means for users to
program in their own languages using latin alphabet.


For example, PL/I provides the means to change any or all
keywords to the user's native language.


For example, an Italian might write --


%declare (do, if, then) character;
%do = 'fare';
%if = 'se';
%then = 'poi';
and could then write a conditional as --
se A = B poi fare; ....


>Different vocabulary and different (natural language) grammar rules make
>some things hard to express and sometimes impossible. English is one of
>the most (if not *the* most) verbose languages I know. It needs a lot
>of "small words in between" to make sentences comprehensible while in
>other languages it's often enough to change a vowel.


Russian omits the verb "is" and sometimes 'a' and 'the',
but French and Italian have similar constructions to English.
These three languages require agreement of adjectives with the
nouns that they qualify, that makes them more difficult to write
and to speak (because the pronunciation changes).
I don't agree that English is more verbose; however, English does not have
consistent rules for pronunciation or spelling ; some words with different spellings
are pronounced the same (e.g., to, too and two, etc).
[Although I'm happy to have discussions here about computer language design, I
draw the line at natural language design. Anglophones can pronounce "Though the
tough cough and hiccough, plough through" and we like it that way. -John]


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