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Thinking Upside Down
English-centric Programming Languages vs DSLs
by Andy Dent
May 6, 2006
If you don't speak English, what programming languages are the best fit and does this radically change how you develop Domain-Specific Languages?


Some languages allow you to effectively define your own language, often used for DSL (Domain-Specific Languages). The best-known examples of these are Lisp and Forth.

As an English speaker (now with Aussie accent) and in awe of the multi-lingual Europeans I meet, I've wondered if the English-centrism of programming languages bothers people and is seen as a productivity barrier?

The obvious spelling issues of words like "if", "then", "while" etc. are probably not a major pain to learn.

How hard do people find dealing with the language semantics if their native language has different verb-noun rules?

Is there an optimal programming language to learn if your native language is not English and you don't know English?

Perl famously allows you to code many different styles to solve a given problem, the direct opposite of the Pythonic style. Does this mean Perl code around the world exhibits more variety due to native language semantics?

(disclaimer: I know very little Perl but haven't any particular prejudices)

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About the Blogger

Andy is a free-lance developer in C++, REALbasic, Python, AJAX and other XML technologies. He works out of Perth, Western Australia for a local and international clients on cross-platform projects with a focus on usability for naive and infrequent users. Included in his range of interests are generative solutions, software usability and small-team software processes. He still bleeds six colors, even though Apple stopped, and uses migration projects from legacy Mac OS to justify the hardware collection.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 Andy Dent. All rights reserved.

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