QCon London 2013: What if Programming would be Invented by Romans

latin_programming_language

All programming languages that I know of use english keywords. Even though I learned how to program several years before I started to learn english, I never really questioned this fact. The other origin of programming languages is mathematics with mathematical notation being used in most programming languages for various purposes. But mathematical notation is quite recent invention with most of it defined only some 300 years ago by Newton, Leibnitz, and Euler. Before, for thousands of years, mathematical notions were expressed in language, first in Akkadian and Sanskrit, and later in Greek, Latin, and Arabic. So how would programming languages turn out to be if computer technology would be invented already by Ancient Romans who would naturally use Latin instead of English and mathematical symbols as a basis for their programming languages? The answer to this question was presented today at QCon by Damian Conway in his astonishing presentation "Fun With Dead Languages" and it came as quite a big surprise to me. The fact is that English has influenced not only which keywords programming languages use, but also the structure of programs themselves. Namely, in the English language the role of a word in a sentence is determined by it's position, while Latin, on the contrary, is an inflected language where role of a word in a sentence is defined by the inflections of the word. But you'll have to see Conway's presentation yourself to fully understand how programming in Latin would look like, since I don't want to reveal all his secrets.

latin_programming_language

Just like Latin, also Slovene is a highly inflected language. It would be really educational for Slovene programmers, if somebody would repeat Conway's excercise but use Slovene instead of Latin as alternative to English and mathematical notation.

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