[r6rs-discuss] Case sensitivity
bh at eecs.berkeley.edu
Sun Feb 22 00:55:38 EST 2009
>Scheme, in fact, makes it uniquely easy to rename the various
>identifiers at its core to be more suggestive in the native language
>of the student. I don't know if anyone's tried this, but surely we
>should make it easier, not harder, to try.
I don't know about Scheme, but our linguistic cousin Logo, where I spend the
other half of my time, has some experience with this. Renaming identifiers
is easy enough, but there are often difficulties about word order and
inflection. For example, prefix operators are less natural in a language
in which objects come before verbs -- although it probably matters that in
the case of Logo we're targeting kids who haven't learned algebra yet, so
they don't have experience with f(x) notation.
But I don't think the difficulties have ever stopped anyone from doing the
translation, or stopped any kid from learning Logo. It's just an annoyance.
>The French tried with 'French Fortran'. I believe they eventually
I believe the story is a little more nuanced than a monolithic "the French"
who first tried and then gave up.
The way I heard it (while working in Paris), Schlumberger, a company that
also makes oil wells and parking meters, used to run a timesharing service
bureau, and someone at Schlumberger decided to install a Fortran compiler
in which the keywords were translated to French. But, because they also
removed the English keywords, their customers -- their /French/ customers --
instantly made them undo that, because the English-keyword-Fortran programs
those customers were using suddenly wouldn't compile.
I don't know why they didn't try having both French and English keywords
in the compiler; that would have been a more interesting experiment. But
I guess it wouldn't have appealed so much to the excessive nationalism of
this nameless Schlumberger middle-manager type.
Disclaimer: It all happened before I was there, so you're hearing it
More information about the r6rs-discuss