An assessment of the Unicode standard

Hendrik van Rooyen hendrik at microcorp.co.za
Wed Sep 16 12:46:27 CEST 2009


On Tuesday 15 September 2009 19:04:10 r wrote:
> On Sep 15, 4:12 am, Hendrik van Rooyen <hend... at microcorp.co.za>
> wrote:
> (snip)
>
> > When a language lacks a word for a concept like "window", then (I
> > believe  :-) ), it kind of puts a crimp in the style of thinking that a
> > person will do, growing up with only that language.
>
> Are you telling us people using a language that does not have a word
> for window somehow cannot comprehend what a window is, are you mad
> man?  Words are simply text attributes attached to objects. the text
> attribute doesn't change the object in any way. just think of is
> __repr__

No - All I am asserting, is the unfashionable view that your first language 
forms the way you think.  It goes deeper than the simple vocabulary problem 
you are describing, even though that is serious enough. I still assert that 
if your language does not have a word for something, and you have never seen 
that object, then you "__cannot__" think about it, because you do not have 
the tools in your kitbag that you need to do so. - no word, no concept, the 
empty set.

And I would even assert that, when you meet the object, and acquire a word for 
it, it is painful for you to think about it, because it is a new thing for 
you. You then have to go through a painful process of integrating that new 
thing into your world view, before you are able to use and reference it 
easily. - did, for instance, the concept of "an abstract class" just jump 
into your head, and stick there immediately, complete with all its 
ramifications, in the minute immediately after hearing about it for the first 
time?  Or did you need a bit of time to understand it and get comfortable? 
And were you able to, and did you, think about it "before" hearing of it?

If you answer those questions honestly, you will catch my drift.

The opposite thing is of course a continual source of trouble - we all have 
words for stuff we have never  seen, 
like  "dragon",  "ghost",  "goblin",  "leprechaun",  "the current King of 
France", "God", "Allah", "The Holy Trinity", "Lucifer", "Satan", "Griffin" - 
and because we have words for these things, we can, and unfortunately do, 
think about them, in a fuzzy fashion, to our own detriment.  People even go 
around killing other people, based on such fuzzy thinking about stuff that 
can not be shown to exist.

- Hendrik




More information about the Python-list mailing list