[Ltru] Re: "mis" update review request

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Sat Apr 21 07:00:47 CEST 2007

Mark Davis scripsit:

> And as a *general* statement about applying zxx to programming
> languages, I think that unless and until we add ", or programming
> languages" to the Description, it is unsuitable for application to
> programming languages.

That would only be true if there were a clear and convincing argument,
acceptable to all, that code is written in a natural language.  Otherwise,
it is a mere judgement about a class of borderline cases.

> don't think we are that far apart here -- we both agree that zxx ought
> to be the right thing. Where we disagree is that you think it already
> has that meaning, and I can't see it at all in the standard.

All the standard says is "Non-linguistic content".  So to assert that
code is not "zxx", you must say that it is linguistic content, though
you are unwilling to apply "en" (or, presumably, any other specific or
collective language tag).  What is this linguistic content that is not
in any language?

You have for whatever reason decided that reading and writing code
(presumably exclusive of comments, which are unquestionably in English
or French or Japanese or what have you) is linguistic behavior, but why?
Learning to program is very unlike either acquiring French or Esperanto
as a first language, or learning them as a second language, though
admittedly more like the latter than the former.  Are you also willing
to say that mathematical formulae embedded in a math paper in English,
French, German, Russian, or what have you are linguistic content, though
certainly not in any of those languages?

> But since it is a broadening, we can make a change and then both of
> us would be happy (or at least happier). So what do you say we agree
> on that, and be done with this part of the issue?

Because it is not clear that it is a broadening, and it is very colorably
an out-of-scope extension.  Why not mention musical notation (of
instrumental compositions, where there are no lyrics to muddy the
waters) as well?

I am expressing my opinion.  When my            John Cowan
honorable and gallant friend is called,         cowan at ccil.org
he will express his opinion.  This is           http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
the process which we call Debate.                   --Winston Churchill

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