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java software naming question

 
 
Gene Wirchenko
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      01-08-2013
On Mon, 07 Jan 2013 19:57:59 -0800, Roedy Green
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Mon, 7 Jan 2013 18:33:47 -0800 (PST), Lew <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
>
>>
>>So how is that "obsessed with gender"?

>
>Consider the sentence.
>
>He made a pot of Sumatran coffee.
>
>She made a pot of Sumatran coffee.
>
>I am constrained by English to specify the flavour of genitals of the
>coffee maker even though it is completely irrelevant to the process of
>making coffee. That I call obsession with gender.
>
>English has another obsession. I discovered it when I learned
>Esperanto which is even more obsessed. TIME. You can't talk about
>anything happening without specifying past, present, future. You can
>though say that something habitually happens, without specifying when.


And yet it misses a verb form for was and continues to be. e.g.
Q: At that time, who was the executive director?
A: It was Fred.
If Fred is still the executive director, you can say
A: It was and continues to be Fred.
but there is no one verb form for this. I would like it.

>You can in Chinese. If tense is important to be explicit, you add some
>adverb. E.g. I come tomorrow.
>
>You notice Asian speakers, often say strange things like
>my wife, he sick.
>Frog die.
>Please give 12 egg.
>
>To them gender, tense, and plurality need not be specified. They are
>implied.


AIUI, if the number is stated, then the plural morpheme is not
used. With plurality, it was already specified by "12".

>Esperanto is like English in its concern with precise tense, gender
>and plurality. It has some other obsessions of its own, roughly
>equivalent to direct/indirect object though it has many other uses.


I prefer to be able to not specify. I have a private shorthand.
In it, "e" is the third-person, singular, animate pronoun. I can
specify the sex by adding a flag, but I rarely do.

>I suppose Mandarin might become the next interlanguage as English
>fades. Bahasa Indonesia was an early attempt at an interlanguage
>devised by traders moving between thousands of islands. It is easy to
>pronounce, and has a relatively simple grammar.
>I don't know much about Mandarin other than the code I wrote at
>http://mindprod.com/products.html#INWORDS to convert integers into
>words, including Mandarin. It was the simplest of all languages I
>tackled (Icelandic was the hairiest). I gather the difficulties are
>pronunciation and the many many synonyms for the same word.
>(Makes for great fun with puns).


There are approximately 1,600 Chinese syllables. That is
considering tone. If you do not consider tone, then there are about
500. English has about 144,000 different syllables.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
 
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Joshua Cranmer
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      01-08-2013
On 1/7/2013 9:57 PM, Roedy Green wrote:
> I am constrained by English to specify the flavour of genitals of the
> coffee maker even though it is completely irrelevant to the process of
> making coffee. That I call obsession with gender.


The proper way to put it is that English lacks a third-person singular
gender-neutral personal pronoun (quite a mouthful). Grammatical gender
is a relatively common concept (pervasive in the Indo-European tree in
particular), and appears to be quite universal for most agglutinative
languages.

> English has another obsession. I discovered it when I learned
> Esperanto which is even more obsessed. TIME. You can't talk about
> anything happening without specifying past, present, future. You can
> though say that something habitually happens, without specifying when.


It's not an obsession, strictly speaking. Often times, there exists a
form where one inflection is the default; this is the notion of
grammatical marking. If we consider gender for a moment, if I were to
discuss an actor, that tends to refer to an unknown person who may be
male or female, despite "actor" being a male version of the term. Only
if I use the female version "actress" would I definitely be referring to
a female; the female version is marked (it conveys additional
information). Similarly, tense in English can be unmarked: if I say "I
work for a living", that is actually ambiguous about time (it implies
that it happens on a consistent basis, but is ambivalent about if I am
presently in an action or not); compare that to "I am working for a living."

You may complain abut it being an obsession, but grammar and redundancy
in agreement do serve a useful purpose in that it allows for information
to be gleaned better from partial sources. Consider instead the trouble
of trying to work out what's happening in this sentence: "And when he
saw that he prevailed not against him..." There are two people A and B,
both male, and it requires a lot of context to work out if it should be
A/A/B or if it should be A/B/A.

> Esperanto is like English in its concern with precise tense, gender
> and plurality. It has some other obsessions of its own, roughly
> equivalent to direct/indirect object though it has many other uses.


Esperanto is effectively a creole of various Indo-European languages,
and can be loosely described as speaking Latin words in a Slavic accent
with a basically Indo-European grammar system. English has a peculiarly
weak grammar (given its history) as a result of several invasions of its
islands by peoples from different regions of Europe.

> I suppose Mandarin might become the next interlanguage as English
> fades. Bahasa Indonesia was an early attempt at an interlanguage
> devised by traders moving between thousands of islands. It is easy to
> pronounce, and has a relatively simple grammar.


Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which is very difficult to master
for those whose language trees are not tonal, and its orthographic
complexity makes English's mess look simple. Given the pride many
Chinese have in having a hard-to-learn language, I doubt that Mandarin
Chinese will become a working lingua franca in the future.

--
Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not
tried it. -- Donald E. Knuth
 
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Lew
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      01-08-2013
Roedy Green wrote:
> Lew wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
>> So how is that "obsessed with gender"?

>
> Consider the sentence.
> He made a pot of Sumatran coffee.
> She made a pot of Sumatran coffee.
>
> I am constrained by English to specify the flavour of genitals of the


Well, you aren't, really,

> coffee maker even though it is completely irrelevant to the process of
> making coffee. That I call obsession with gender.


and that really is an overblown interpretation.

Do you deny there is a difference between males and females?

So those sentences provide descriptive specificity. Oh, and they don't
refer to genitalia; that's *your* obsession.

If you want gender-neutrality the usual is to say "they". As in "There
was one person there, and they made a pot of Sumatran coffee.

So for at least half a millennium English has had a widely-accepted idiom
for not specifying the gender of who made the coffee.

Other languages make *every single noun* have a gender, not just ones that
describe humans or other animals, who at least actually have gender in the
real world, despite your attempt to suppress that.

Again, the obsession is not in English, but in the beholder.

> English has another obsession. I discovered it when I learned
> Esperanto which is even more obsessed. TIME. You can't talk about


Esperanto is an artificial language.

> anything happening without specifying past, present, future. You can


Again, that is not uncommon among languages. Can you use a verb without
tense in French?

> though say that something habitually happens, without specifying when.


Urdu?

> You can in Chinese. If tense is important to be explicit, you add some
> adverb. E.g., I come tomorrow.


Basque?

> You notice Asian speakers, often say strange things like
> my wife, he sick.
> Frog die.
> Please give 12 egg.


So foreigners' difficulty with English is evidence that English has obsessions?

> To them gender, tense, and plurality need not be specified. They are
> implied.
>
> Esperanto is like English in its concern with precise tense, gender
> and plurality. It has some other obsessions of its own, roughly
> equivalent to direct/indirect object though it has many other uses.


You realize that "obsession" is a psychological term, correct?

Languages do not have psyches.

> I suppose Mandarin might become the next interlanguage as English
> fades. Bahasa Indonesia was an early attempt at an interlanguage


What evidence do you have that English will fade?

> devised by traders moving between thousands of islands. It is easy to
> pronounce, and has a relatively simple grammar.


Common among all Pidgins, which spring up everywhere, not just in Indonesia.

> I don't know much about Mandarin other than the code I wrote at
> http://mindprod.com/products.html#INWORDS to convert integers into
> words, including Mandarin. It was the simplest of all languages I
> tackled (Icelandic was the hairiest). I gather the difficulties are
> pronunciation and the many many synonyms for the same word.
> (Makes for great fun with puns).


Thank you for sharing your linguistic expertise.

--
Lew
 
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Roedy Green
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      01-08-2013
On Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:58:17 -0600, Joshua Cranmer
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone
who said :

>In contrast to Romance languages and many others


But German and French use gender is a rather chaotic ways, assigning 3
or 2 genders more or less arbitrarily to nouns. In those languages
specifying a gender does have quite the same genital implication it
does in English.

The Swedes have the same problem as English. They have corrected it
recently by introducing a new singular pronoun hen, which is
gender-non-specified.

Compare the grammars of a human language and a computer language.
Human languages are mainly about describing what happened in the
universe or describing it. Computer languages are all about commands
to compute something. Its statements are implicitly imperative.
Computer languages are evolving to become more and more declarative,
letting the computer figure out what needs to be done (e.g. GUI
layouts, XML schemas.)

--
Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
Students who hire or con others to do their homework are as foolish
as couch potatoes who hire others to go to the gym for them.
 
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Roedy Green
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      01-08-2013
On Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:58:17 -0600, Joshua Cranmer
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone
who said :

>well as gender too, and it wouldn't surprise me if it became more
>prevalent in singular third-person in 400 years.


English is beginning to use "they" as a singular gender-unspecified
pronoun. Unless some replacement singular catches on, the number
distinction will disappear. "he" is supposed to play that role, but
you won't find many people defending that view any more.

Maybe we could borrow the new hen from Swedish.

--
Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
Students who hire or con others to do their homework are as foolish
as couch potatoes who hire others to go to the gym for them.
 
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Aryeh M. Friedman
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      01-08-2013

> English is obsessed with plurality/number. You can't say anything
>
> without being specific. It is similarly obsessed with gender.


This is as pointless as saying Java is obsessed with semicolons, ()/[]/{}, etc.
 
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Roedy Green
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      01-08-2013
On Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:58:17 -0600, Joshua Cranmer
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone
who said :

>hate sentences ending in prepositions


This is the kind of arrant pedantry I will not up with put!
~ Winston Churchill

To boldly go where no man has gone before.

I can't think of a better place to put an adverb to make it perfectly
clear which verb/adjective it is attached to.
--
Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
Students who hire or con others to do their homework are as foolish
as couch potatoes who hire others to go to the gym for them.
 
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Aryeh M. Friedman
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      01-08-2013
On Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:22:41 AM UTC-5, Roedy Green wrote:
> On Mon, 07 Jan 2013 21:58:17 -0600, Joshua Cranmer
>
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone
>
> who said :
>
>
>
> >well as gender too, and it wouldn't surprise me if it became more

>
> >prevalent in singular third-person in 400 years.

>
>
>
> English is beginning to use "they" as a singular gender-unspecified
>
> pronoun. Unless some replacement singular catches on, the number
>
> distinction will disappear. "he" is supposed to play that role, but
>
> you won't find many people defending that view any more.
>
>
>
> Maybe we could borrow the new hen from Swedish.
>
>
>
> --
>
> Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
>
> Students who hire or con others to do their homework are as foolish
>
> as couch potatoes who hire others to go to the gym for them.


This is as pointless as saying Java is obsessed with semicolons, ()/[]/{}, etc.
 
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Lew
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      01-08-2013
Roedy Green wrote:
> English is beginning to use "they" as a singular gender-unspecified


"Beginning"? The usage goes back at least to the fifteenth or sixteenth
century. Shakespeare used it.

> pronoun. Unless some replacement singular catches on, the number
> distinction will disappear. "he" is supposed to play that role, but
> you won't find many people defending that view any more.


Eh. It still happens.

> Maybe we could borrow the new hen from Swedish.


That'll work out about as well as "te" and "ter" did a few decades ago.

The point is that contrary to your claim of "English" having an obsession,
English has had a gender-neutral pronoun in use for centuries.

Centuries.

--
Lew

 
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Lew
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      01-08-2013
Roedy Green wrote:
> To boldly go where no man has gone before.
>
> I can't think of a better place to put an adverb to make it perfectly
> clear which verb/adjective it is attached to.


Boldly to go where no man has gone before.
To go boldly where no man has gone before.

All are equally clear.

--
Lew
 
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