Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Perl Monk, Perl Meditation
 
PerlMonks  

Comment on

( #3333=superdoc: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

... What the heck is a "computer language"? I first saw the expression in Wikipedia, and since then it has been uttered -- so it seems -- predominantly by North American programmers. Yes, Larry Wall uses it.

Supposedly "computer language" encompasses all notations "used with computers", such as markup (HTML, XML), programming languages, and sometimes even configuration file syntax. It makes little sense to me, even less than the concept of programming language. It's not a language, folks. It's a notation.

Some might argue that notations are languages and languages are notations, pointing out that it was 1930s mathematicians who started calling particular mathematical constructs languages and that we're only extending the metaphore, as programming languages are already languages, and...

My beef is that by calling various unrelated notations "computer languages", you further smudge the fine line between machines and people. It used to be pretty straightforward. A loom is a loom -- you don't "communicate" with it when you work it. Once you have "computer languages", it's a small step to think of a computer and programming in anthropomorphic terms. As well as being detrimental, it's silly and harmful.

A computer is not a living being. It has no consciousness, you cannot talk with it, and it doesn't have a will. It's brilliantly constructed machinery, but still a machine. As well as elevating this machine to the status of a human, the phrase "computer language" makes us more similar to the machines. That in turn perpetuates thinking about people as a resource to be exploited, and generates inaccurate analogies such as your memory being "like a harddisk".

Coming back to Perl 5, yes, some features were inspired by natural language constructs, such as $_. It doesn't make it a natural language in any way.

--
print "Just Another Perl Adept\n";


In reply to Re: Perl and Linguistics by w-ber
in thread Perl and Linguistics by Cody Pendant

Title:
Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":



  • Posts are HTML formatted. Put <p> </p> tags around your paragraphs. Put <code> </code> tags around your code and data!
  • Read Where should I post X? if you're not absolutely sure you're posting in the right place.
  • Please read these before you post! —
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags:
    a, abbr, b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, col, colgroup, dd, del, div, dl, dt, em, font, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, hr, i, ins, li, ol, p, pre, readmore, small, span, spoiler, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, tbody, td, tfoot, th, thead, tr, tt, u, ul, wbr
  • Outside of code tags, you may need to use entities for some characters:
            For:     Use:
    & &amp;
    < &lt;
    > &gt;
    [ &#91;
    ] &#93;
  • Link using PerlMonks shortcuts! What shortcuts can I use for linking?
  • See Writeup Formatting Tips and other pages linked from there for more info.
  • Log In?
    Username:
    Password:

    What's my password?
    Create A New User
    Chatterbox?
    and the web crawler heard nothing...

    How do I use this? | Other CB clients
    Other Users?
    Others avoiding work at the Monastery: (7)
    As of 2014-12-25 21:47 GMT
    Sections?
    Information?
    Find Nodes?
    Leftovers?
      Voting Booth?

      Is guessing a good strategy for surviving in the IT business?





      Results (163 votes), past polls