Text encoding Babel. Was Re: George Keremedjiev

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Tue Nov 27 20:23:20 CST 2018

>> I have long wondered if there are computer languages that aren't rooted
>> in English / ASCII.  I feel like it's rather pompous to assume that all
>> programming languages are rooted in English / ASCII.  I would hope that
>> there are programming languages that are more specific to the region of
>> the world they were developed in.  As such, I would expect that they
>> would be stored in something other than ASCII.

On Tue, 27 Nov 2018, William Donzelli via cctalk wrote:
> APL.

APL requires adding additional characters.  That was a major obstacle to 
acceptance, both in terms of keyboard and type ball (my use preceded CRT), 
but also asking the user/programmer to learn new characters.  I loved APL!

I love the use of an arrow for assignment.  In teaching, a student's FIRST 
encounter with programming can be daunting.  Use of an equal sign 
immediately runs up against the long in-grained concept of commutative 
equality.  You would be surprised how many first time students try to say 
3 = X .  Then, of course,
N = 1
N = N + 1
is a mathematical "proof by induction" that all numbers are equal!
(Don't let a mathematician see that, or the universe will cease to 
exist, and be replaced by something even more inexplicable!)

Even the archaic keyword "LET" in BASIC helped clarify that.

We tend to be dismissive of such problems, declaring that 
students "need to LEARN the right way".

I remember a cartoon in a publication, that might have been Interface Age,
where an archeologist looking at hieroglyphics says that it looks like a 
subset of APL.

But, I think that the comment was more in regards to programming by 
non-English speaking programmers.  While FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC can be 
almost trivially adapted to Spanish, Italian, German, etc.,
What about Chinese? Japanese?
Yes, there IS a Chinese COBOL!
But, THOSE programmers essentially have to learn English before they can 
Surely a Chinese or Japanese based programming language could be 

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com

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