Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Steve Howell showell30 at
Thu Mar 29 21:25:10 CEST 2012

On Mar 29, 11:53 am, Devin Jeanpierre <jeanpierr... at> wrote:

> Well, what sort of language differences make for English vs Mandarin?
> Relational algebraic-style programming is useful, but definitely a
> large language barrier to people that don't know any SQL. I think this
> is reasonable. (It would not matter even if you gave SQL python-like
> syntax, the mode of thinking is different, and for a good reason.)

I don't see any fundamental disconnect between SQL thinking and Python

List comprehensions are very close to SQL SELECTs semantically, and
not that far off syntactically.

  [row.x for row in foo if x == 3]

  select x from foo where x = 3

Many people can grok the basics of relational algebraic style
programming quite easily, which is why SQL is so popular.  It just
happens that many "programming" languages up until now have obscured
the idea.

SQL is so strongly associated with RDBMS implementations that people
tend to forget that it makes sense as an abstract language--people
tend to view SQL as a very concrete mechanism for pulling data out of
storage, instead of as a notation for describing the relating and
transforming of sets.

More information about the Python-list mailing list