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Ian 06-22-2006 11:03 AM

Native language versions
 
Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
suitable compiler?


Josef Moellers 06-22-2006 11:13 AM

Re: Native language versions
 
Ian wrote:
> Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
> languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
> not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
> suitable compiler?
>


... and loose the possibility to use CPAN modules?

--
Josef M÷llers (Pinguinpfleger bei FSC)
If failure had no penalty success would not be a prize
-- T. Pratchett


06-22-2006 12:13 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
Ian <nisbeti@googlemail.com> wrote:
: Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
: languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
: not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
: suitable compiler?

Many years ago I as in Japan for the first time and had access to a
computer. At that time, computers still came with built-in ROM with
BASIC, which I could try after starting the machine. I was astonished
and disappointed to see that print statements still were named print,
and not insatsu (in whichever writing system that would be rendered
doesn't really matter). Naively, I asked myself why the advanced
technology of Japan had not brought forth a computer that would natively
"work in Japanese".

Years and many languages later I understood that such an endeavour is
of little meaning. Any given language consists of more than words, there
is also grammar. While you could replace "print" by "insatsu", you
would also have to transform

print $calar;

into

$calar wo insatsu;

("wo" being grammatical glue).

suddenly you go from PO to OP (predicate-object to object-predicate).
Your complete stack mechanism gets upset, ending up with a language
like Forth or PostScript. Japanese is a bit like RPN for calculators.

Saying

insatsu $calar;

would be completely ungrammatical, hence incomprehensible, in Japanese.

Things get worse if you talk about conditionals.

if ($a eq $b) {do something}

would become

($a,$b to ha onaji).dattara {katsudou}

since the condition in Japanese is expressed as a verb form, not as
a particle.

Worse with Arab which modifies the vowel structure of a consonantal skeleton
in order to arrive at new meanings.

No, this approach is completely impractical and not even of any academic
interest. You cannot learn French while, for the sake of making things
easy, maintain that you replace the French words by English. On y va -
let's go? How will you transform that?

The German-, French-, ... ized versions of MS Excel macro language and
friends show how utterly useless the approach is. You gain ease of talking
while loosing your complete audience. What a trade-off.

Oliver.

--
Dr. Oliver Corff e-mail: corff@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Anno Siegel 06-22-2006 01:21 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
In article <1150974224.552872.262280@g10g2000cwb.googlegroups .com>,
"Ian" <nisbeti@googlemail.com> writes:
> Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
> languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
> not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
> suitable compiler?


The meaning of computer language keywords and their meaning
in a natural language have little to do with one another.
Knowing what "print" means in English desn't help you any
when it comes to its usage in a Perl context. So, even if
your approach were feasible, the benefit would be small.
The hard part to learn about computer language components
is their interaction, not their individual meaning.

Anno

Tad McClellan 06-22-2006 02:37 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
Ian <nisbeti@googlemail.com> wrote:

> Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
> languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.)



How do you say "grep" in French or Japanese?


--
Tad McClellan SGML consulting
tadmc@augustmail.com Perl programming
Fort Worth, Texas

06-22-2006 03:38 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
Tad McClellan <tadmc@augustmail.com> wrote:

: > Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
: > languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.)


: How do you say "grep" in French or Japanese?


grep in French could be ierg (imprimer expression rationelle globale), while
in Japanese I'd expect shdi (seikihyougen wo dokodemo insatsu suru), but more
idiomatical would be gureppu, of course.

scnr,

Oliver.


--
Dr. Oliver Corff e-mail: corff@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Ted Zlatanov 06-22-2006 03:40 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
On 22 Jun 2006, nisbeti@googlemail.com wrote:

> Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
> languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
> not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
> suitable compiler?


I don't think the former would engender the latter. In particular,
you'd need to translate and correct all the documentation
appropriately for that language, and all your programs would require
that special version of Perl. I don't think the effort is worth the
loss of compatibility, considering the incremental effort of learning
a few keywords is negligible compared to learning Perl as a language.

Ted

Peter J. Holzer 06-22-2006 04:13 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
corff@zedat.fu-berlin.de wrote:
> Ian <nisbeti@googlemail.com> wrote:
> : Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
> : languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
> : not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
> : suitable compiler?


In perl you don't need a separate compiler for that: You can write a
filter module. See Lingua::Romana::Perligata for a filter module which
implements Latin syntax (including declensions and
position-independence) for Perl.

> Many years ago I as in Japan for the first time and had access to a
> computer. At that time, computers still came with built-in ROM with
> BASIC, which I could try after starting the machine. I was astonished
> and disappointed to see that print statements still were named print,
> and not insatsu (in whichever writing system that would be rendered
> doesn't really matter). Naively, I asked myself why the advanced
> technology of Japan had not brought forth a computer that would natively
> "work in Japanese".
>
> Years and many languages later I understood that such an endeavour is
> of little meaning. Any given language consists of more than words, there
> is also grammar. While you could replace "print" by "insatsu", you
> would also have to transform


[examples where Japanese grammar differs from English grammar]

> Worse with Arab which modifies the vowel structure of a consonantal skeleton
> in order to arrive at new meanings.
>
> No, this approach is completely impractical and not even of any academic
> interest.


I don't think this would be impractical at all. I don't know Japanese or
Arabic, but I don't think parsing a computer language based on Japanese
or Arabic grammar would be harder than parsing Perl (indeed parsing Perl
is quite hard - "only perl can parse Perl" as the saying goes). At least
your examples don't look hard to me.

> The German-, French-, ... ized versions of MS Excel macro language and
> friends show how utterly useless the approach is. You gain ease of talking
> while loosing your complete audience. What a trade-off.


There are probably a lot more people who program Excel than any other
programming language. There are of course other factors which make Excel
attractive to non-programmers (not least that it doesn't *look* like a
programming language), but I wonder whether translating the function
names doesn't contribute to its popularity. There is a surprising number
of people who don't understand basic English (even though they learned
it in school).

To you and me and other members of the Open Source community who are
used to sharing our programs with other people all over the world, the
mere thought of a localized programming language is a nightmare
(debugging a program with Portuguese comments in it is hard enough, at
least you understand the code), but there are people who don't speak
English and who want to write programs only for themselves and their
colleagues and friends. (and BTW, if you do it right, you can make such
programs translatable - unlike human languages, the semantics of a
programming language is known)

hp

--
_ | Peter J. Holzer | Man k├Ânnte sich [die Diskussion] auch
|_|_) | Sysadmin WSR/LUGA | sparen, wenn man sie sich einfach sparen
| | | hjp@hjp.at | w├╝rde.
__/ | http://www.hjp.at/ | -- Ralph Angenendt in dang 2006-04-15

Peter J. Holzer 06-22-2006 04:21 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
Josef Moellers wrote:
> Ian wrote:
>> Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
>> languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
>> not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
>> suitable compiler?
>>

>
> ... and loose the possibility to use CPAN modules?


If you do it via a source filter (like Lingua::Romana::Perligata) you
don't lose the CPAN modules. What you may lose is some of the usefulness
of the documentation that comes with those modules since the examples
may not work if you change for example the way functions are called or
assignments are done. So you need somebody to translate the docs. But if
you aim at programmers who don't speak English, you need to translate
the docs anyway.

hp

--
_ | Peter J. Holzer | Man k├Ânnte sich [die Diskussion] auch
|_|_) | Sysadmin WSR/LUGA | sparen, wenn man sie sich einfach sparen
| | | hjp@hjp.at | w├╝rde.
__/ | http://www.hjp.at/ | -- Ralph Angenendt in dang 2006-04-15

06-22-2006 04:37 PM

Re: Native language versions
 
Peter J. Holzer <hjp-usenet2@hjp.at> wrote:
: > Ian <nisbeti@googlemail.com> wrote:
: > : Has anyone tried translating the command set of Perl into other
: > : languages (French, Japanese, Arabic etc.), so that native speakers do
: > : not need to learn any English in order to program, then writing a
: > : suitable compiler?

: In perl you don't need a separate compiler for that: You can write a
: filter module. See Lingua::Romana::Perligata for a filter module which
: implements Latin syntax (including declensions and
: position-independence) for Perl.

Which is a nice thing to have, but have we ever heard that the Vatican
uses this module extensively?

: > No, this approach is completely impractical and not even of any academic
: > interest.

: I don't think this would be impractical at all. I don't know Japanese or
: Arabic, but I don't think parsing a computer language based on Japanese
: or Arabic grammar would be harder than parsing Perl (indeed parsing Perl
: is quite hard - "only perl can parse Perl" as the saying goes). At least
: your examples don't look hard to me.

No, that's right. You _can_ do it, but is it practical? Is it still Perl?
I wonder how to maintain a claim that two languages are equal (perhaps
better: equivalent) if both their grammars and lexica differ substantially?

: There are probably a lot more people who program Excel than any other
: programming language. There are of course other factors which make Excel
: attractive to non-programmers (not least that it doesn't *look* like a
: programming language), but I wonder whether translating the function
: names doesn't contribute to its popularity. There is a surprising number
: of people who don't understand basic English (even though they learned
: it in school).

While I stay with you that this feature may have contributed to the popularity
of Excel, I've seen a number of cases where a file with scripts written in the
German version wouldn't execute on the English version Excel. This was quite
a few years ago, though, maybe things have changed.

Oliver.
--
Dr. Oliver Corff e-mail: corff@zedat.fu-berlin.de


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