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[ Programming in Latin]

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 5, 2000, 22:22
Is this a conlang?

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)

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Subject: Programming in Latin
From: Julian Assange <proff@...>
Date: 06 Sep 2000 09:15:35 +1100
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                          Monash University
         School of Computer Science and Software Engineering
                         2000 Clayton campus Seminar Series

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Programming in Latin (and Why You Really Might Want To)


        Dr Damian Conway
        School of Computer Science and Software Engineering,
        Monash University

        MONDAY, 11 September 2000

        2:00 pm


Room 135, Computer Science Building (26), Clayton Campus

Video Wall at Caulfield Campus

Seminar Abstract:

English has a comparatively weak lexical structure. Much of the
grammatical load of a sentence is carried by positional cues. A
statement such as: "The boy gave the dog the food." only makes sense
because of the convention that the subject precedes the verb, which
precedes the indirect object, which precedes the direct object. Changing
the order -- "The food gave the boy the dog." -- changes the meaning.

Most programming languages use similar positional grammatical cues.
The instruction:

        maximum = next;

is very different in meaning from:

        next = maximum;

Generally speaking, older languages have richer lexical structures (such
as inflection for noun number and case) and so rely less on word order.
For example, in Latin the sentences "Puer dedit cani escam." and "Escam
dedit puer cani." both mean "The boy gave the dog the food." Indeed, the
more usual word order would be "Reverse Polish", with the verb coming
last: "Puer cani escam dedit." This flexibility is possible because
Latin uses inflection to denote lexical roles.

There is no reason that programming languages could not also make use of
inflection, rather than position, to denote lexical roles. This talk
will describe an alternative syntactic binding for the Perl programming
language. This binding uses inflections based on classical Latin
grammar, rather than positional constraints.

No prior knowledge of Latin will be assumed, but by the end of the talk
the following program will make perfect sense:

    maximum inquementum tum biguttam tum stadium egresso scribe.
    vestibulo perlegementum da meo maximo .
    maximum tum novumversum egresso scribe.
    da duo tum maximum conscribementa meis listis.
    dum damentum nexto listis decapitamentum fac sic
        lista sic hoc tum nextum recidementum cis vannementa listis da.
        next tum biguttam tum nextum tum novumversum scribe egresso.

About The Speaker:

Dr Damian Conway is a Senior Lecture in the School of Computer Science
and Software Engineering at Monash University.

His research interests include: language design, the teaching of
programming, object orientation, software engineering, natural language
generation, synthetic language generation, morphing, human-computer
interaction, geometric modelling, the psychophysics of perception,
nanoscale simulation, and parsing.

School Contact:
        Damian Conway
        ( )

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A complete list of forthcoming Monash (Clayton) Computer Science and Software
Engineering seminars is available from:

Clayton campus parking information is available from:

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Andrew P. Paplinski (seminar coordinator)

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                                                Updated: 05 Sep 2000
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