Don't you just love writing this sort of thing :)

Arnaud Delobelle arnodel at
Sun Dec 7 15:36:18 CET 2008

Lawrence D'Oliveiro <ldo at geek-central.gen.new_zealand> writes:

> In message <m24p1h8vx5.fsf at>, Arnaud Delobelle wrote:
>>   * you seem to disregard the fact that in 'programming language' there
>>     is the word 'language'.  A language is a way to _communicate_
>>     information, in the case of a programming language you communicate
>>     it to the computer but also to other human beings.
> It was Niklaus Wirth, I think who pointed out that programming languages are
> not properly "languages" but are actually "notations". Like mathematics is
> a notation.

I suppose anyone could call them what they want.  The fact is that they
are languages with grammars.  Anyway, replace 'language' with 'notation'
in my point and it is still meaningful.

> And mathematics, too, is a predominantly functional, not a procedural,
> notation.

Well, mathematics is seldom concerned with procedures, that's true.  But
mathematics is more preoccupied with relations than functions.

> Could that be why so many people are frightened of functional
> constructs, like my code example and things like lambdas? Because they
> look too much like mathematics?

I don't think that people have been frightened by it.  They don't think
it's expressed elegantly as Python is designed to be used as an
imperative language.



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