Is Python the Esperanto of programming languages?

Carl Banks imbosol-1048277707 at aerojockey.com
Sat Mar 22 05:39:50 CET 2003


Steven Taschuk wrote:
> I don't, however, think that these add up to the morpheme "saying
> nothing".

Ok, let's say it means nothing in the same sense that sin x = x.  How
about that?


> In my personal theory of meaning (idiosemantics?), it
> always means "third person singular", and its absence always means
> "not third person singular"; this explains why
>   1.   The man goes to the store.      is good,
>   2.  *The man go to the store.        is bad, and
>   3.   The sheep goes to the barn.     is not ambiguous as to the
>                                        number of sheep.
> It does not, on its own, explain why (2) is merely bad instead of
> ambiguous to the point of incomprehensibility; for that we can use
> your idea that the information from the subject dominates.

I don't agree with the reasoning here.  Things that are paradoxical or
nonsensical don't always sound bad, and things that sound bad are not
always nonsensical or paradoxical.

I think things sound bad just because they violate the pattern we
learned.  We learn that "he go" is wrong, interalize it, and then it
sounds wrong.  In other words, I think the signal that the sentence
sounds bad comes from the pattern-fitting part, not the
meaning-analyser part.

I've observed this first hand, BTW.  In high school French class,
there was a little girl (7th grade; I was in 12th) who emmigrated from
France at a young age.  She could no longer speak or understand
French, but she still knew when phrases sounded bad.

That suggests to me the fastest way to learn another language is
phrasing drills: just learn what sounds good or sounds bad, without
too much interpretation, and let the word meanings and overall fall
into place.  I haven't tried it yet, mostly because I don't like doing
drills.


-- 
CARL BANKS




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