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CHAT: proramming langs, was Re: CHAT: OS pain

From:Charles <catty@...>
Date:Sunday, November 14, 1999, 18:19
Brook Conner wrote:

> APIs and programming languages as conlangs.... Thought > that way, most PLs are horribly painful.
Most programming languages imitate algebra. The most extreme I know of that was thinkable-in was APL. On another hand, Perl was designed by some one with linguistic training. But the shell script command langs are more "linguistic" than those. Basically, verb-objects with some adverbial-prepositional elements. The subject is always "you" and elided. Weird punctuation and anaphora! GUIs have taken the field temporarily, but I expect a return of the old command-line, in the form of speech-based interfaces. Now, that's the way to drive a car: "Please drive to work now, not too fast, and play some Grateful Dead." Microsoft just bought the Cambridge technology, it was in the news last week.
> I once considered a variant > syntax for a PL called Self (a lot like Smalltalk) that would enable > something that read like English. Self, though, lets you redefine > anything and everything (e.g., you can make true false and change > addition to subtraction). > > Now, what would a language be like that was designed from the ground > up to be: > > a) a spoken language > > b) a written language > > c) a machine-readable language > > d) a language with an explicit machine semantics > > e) easy to learn
Really-easy-to-learn implies pidgin, somewhat verbose. No morphology; SVO; all CV or CSV syllables, no diacritics. That's my guess.