[plt-scheme] Unicode, take 3

From: Eli Barzilay (eli at barzilay.org)
Date: Fri Apr 2 09:09:18 EST 2004

On Apr  2, ifconfig wrote:
> I have learned many programming languages at school and at the
> university.  One of them, called Prolog, was taught in Hebrew. Since
> I live in Israel and my mother language is Hebrew, that would make
> sense, wouldn't it?  It doesn't. The code is as ugly as hell, and
> less comprehensible than any English Prolog code I've ever seen. It
> looks awful and is hard to work with, and I cannot emphasize this
> enough, it shouldn't be used! You shouldn't even let people program
> in Hebrew because it causes such bad code. And the most terrible
> thing is this: Some people like it. Most don't, and I understand
> that. But the some do. Good programmers, I notice, would never want
> to code in Hebrew; if you let people do it, I see nothing but
> trouble ahead.

There are two problems in generalizing your argument:

1. The Prolog in Hebrew thing makes some sense because it's mostly
   just the database part of Prolog, not the actual programming part.
   (That's not from first hand experience, I was about two years too
   early for Prolog).  So for young kids who play at the level of

     mother(X,Y) :- married(Z,X), father(Z,Y).
     ?- mother(shula,shlomo).

   Hebrew manages to make sense.

2. As someone who spent Enough Time in Other Places(TM), I can tell
   you that the whole language thing is taken in a much healthier way
   in Israel than other parts of the world.  There are people who
   equate ASCII to colonialism (which might be true, except that as a
   programmer I just don't care), there are people who will look at
   the above prolog code and shout that it's politically incorrect to
   have an assymetric


   relation and you should make it symmetrical and even better, use
   `spouse' to stress it.  Actually, there are people that would
   scream in complete horror if you tell them the two meanings of the
   word "Husband" in Hebrew.

          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
                  http://www.barzilay.org/                 Maze is Life!

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