Using non-ascii symbols

Magnus Lycka lycka at carmen.se
Fri Jan 27 11:05:15 CET 2006


Terry Hancock wrote:
> That's interesting. I think many people in the West tend to
> imagine han/kanji characters as archaisms that will
> disappear (because to most Westerners they seem impossibly
> complex to learn and use, "not suited for the modern
> world"). 
I don't know about "the West". Isn't it more typical for the
US that people believe that "everybody really wants to be like
us". Here in Sweden, *we* obviously want to be like you, even
if we don't admit it openly, but we don't suffer from the
misconception that this applies to all of the world. ;)

> After taking a couple of semesters of Japanese, though, I've
> come to appreciate why they are preferred.  Getting rid of
> them would be like convincing English people to kunvurt to
> pur fonetik spelin'.
> 
> Which isn't happening either, I can assure you. ;-)
The Germans just had a spelling reform. Norway had a major
language reform in the mid 19th century to get rid of the old
Danish influences (and still have two completely different ways
of spelling everything). You never know what will happen. You
are also embracing the metric system, inch by inch... ;)

Actually, it seems that recent habit of sending text messages
via mobile phones is the prime driver for reformed spelling
these days.

> I'm not sure I understand how this works, but surely if
> Python can provide readline support in the interactive
> shell, it ought to be able to handle "phrase input"/"kanji
> input."  Come to think of it, you probably can do this by
> running the interpreter in a kanji terminal -- but Python
> just doesn't know what to do with the characters yet.
I'm sure the same principles could be used to make a very fast
and less misspelling prone editing environment though. That
could actually be a reason to step away from vi or Emacs (but
I assume it would soon work in Emacs too...)

> I would like to point out also, that as long as Chinese
> programmers don't go "hog wild" and use obscure characters,
> I suspect that I would have much better luck reading their
> programs with han characters, than with, say, the Chinese
> phonetic names!  Possibly even better than what they thought
> were the correct English words, if their English isn't that
> good.
You certainly have a point there. Even when I don't work in an
English speaking environment as I do now, I try to write all
comments and variable names etc in English. You never know when
you need to show a code snippet to people who don't read Swedish.
Also, ASCII lacks three of our letters and properly translated
is often better than written with the wrong letters.

On the other hand, if the target users describe their problem
domain with e.g. a Swedish terminology, translating all terms
will take time and increase confusion. Also, there are plenty
of programmers who don't write English so well...



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