[plt-scheme] Re: Why "lambda"?

From: Marco Morazan (morazanm at gmail.com)
Date: Sat May 30 23:01:31 EDT 2009

> Two points here.
> First, the use of familiar squiggly lines is easier than unfamiliar
> ones.  And so there is advantage in using familiar ones as well as
> advantage in making common unfamiliar ones become familiar.

Fair enough, but that is due to *convention* and not due to the nature
of the familiarity with a symbol. I am not sold on using A-conversion
instead of alpha-conversion is easier. These are just names for a
common program transformation technique. My point is that if you
understand the program transformation technique then it really does
not matter what you call it unless there exists a convention that
makes one preferred over the other. In this simple example, it is best
to use alpha-conversion, because that is what it is commonly called.
Introducing A-conversion just adds to the confusion. Any reasonable
student would then ask, perhaps years later, "what the heck is

> Second, knowing how to pronounce the squiggly lines helps,
> except maybe for those whose linguistic cognition is purely visual.

Maybe during the first hour of exposure while a student s trying to
get the point. Is f(x + h) more helpful than f(x + delta-x)? Given
enough exposure it is all the same. :-)




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