The task is to invent names for things

dn PythonList at
Tue Oct 26 19:05:09 EDT 2021

On 27/10/2021 11.16, Stefan Ram wrote:
> dn <PythonList at> writes:
>> Some time ago I watched a video of a Raymond Hettinger talk. In it he
>> recounted answering his son's question of 'what do you do, Dad?'
> The Mental Game of Python - Raymond Hettinger (PyBay 2019)
>   Around minute 21, Raymond says:
> |I often, doo, uh, try to describe, uh, computer programming,
> |uh, to kids.
> |
> |How many of you can tell, uh, uh, a child what a, uh, a
> |software engineer does?
> |
> |At least one man, uh, uh, can. - One man who has.
> |
> |Here's my explanation:
> |  "The computer gives us words that do ### things.
> |  What daddy does is make new words to make computers easier to use."
>   . An awesome explanation!
>   But please help me to understand the word marked "###" above!

That was quick. Thank you!
(and yes, I had "Bay Piggies" in my head, but after starting to re-watch
that video, moved-on because the agenda didn't seem to match)

OTOH it is not exactly as I remember (which may say more about me!).
Perhaps he re-used the story elsewhere - I shall investigate further...

Meantime, the tape will reinforce a 'learning-opportunity' for a certain
trainee and his 'algebraic habit'...

Your question:

Firstly, Raymond often needs to "er" in order to let his mind catch-up
with his words. A lot of us do this, not because we've forgotten what to
say, but because we're also listening, in QA-mode as it were, and
sometimes question our choice of words - ah, back to names/words again!

In this case, I'll suggest that he was already struggling with the
subject of the sentence - is he talking about 'a programmer' talking to
a child, or his own situation in-conversation with his son?

Secondly, there is the issue of singular/plural forms - especially when
formulating the sentence's object - or final clause. Thus, do I use the
singular "does" because "computer" is singular, or should it be the
plural "do" because "words" is plural?

His first choice was grammatically-correct. Think of the pause as
running pytest prior to further execution...

Alternately, if your question was to identify the mumbled word, it is
(seemed to me to be) "does".

Thanks again!

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