Python Metalanguage confusticates and bebothers me...

Mats Wichmann xyzmats at
Sun Sep 17 22:59:15 CEST 2000

On Wed, 06 Sep 2000 22:28:41 -0700, "Stephen Hansen"
<stephen at> wrote:

>Umm... 'dictionary' is a nicer way of describing what is going on then
>'associative arrays'. You have Words, with Definitions, in a 
>one-to-one or one-to-many relationship. That's what a dictionary
>is. Look at HTML's 'definition lists'.
>And, Tuples are defined as a data object of two or more components.
>You see, Python has three kinds of arrays. To make things easier
>to understand, they are each called something distinct, and not
>'immutable arrays', 'mutable dynamic-lengthed arrays' and
>'associative arrays'. They're 'tuples', 'lists', and 'dictionaries'.
>Isn't that easier to understand?

Maybe...or maybe not.  I prefer the terminology that's actually used,
though. Python provides some fundamental datatypes for common
operations (and sure, this list can be extended).  One group of those
is sequence types: the term "sequence" implies order.  In that group
we have lists, tuples and strings.  If you want to think of a list as
an array, fine, but the term "array" always implies (to me) that the
elements must be of the same type.  Another is mapping types: that's
dictionaries, where a key maps you to the associated data field;
there's no "order" implied here.
Mats Wichmann

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