Friday, April 17, 2015

The English-centric world of computer languages

Python's built-in functions have names like 'all', 'any', 'callable', 'enumerate', 'filter', 'list', 'map', 'open', and 'print'. These names are designed to make the program more readable by humans.

And if you speak English, they do so. But what if you speak Mandarin or Turkish? Of course, over time, these little sequences of characters come to have the same meaning for you as for an English-speaking programmer... but at first they might as well have been 'grolf', 'purbu', 'luzed', etc.

And the creator of Python is Dutch... but, of course, most of the Dutch speak English better than me.

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