[racket] Plea for neologism

From: Don Blaheta (dblaheta at monm.edu)
Date: Wed Nov 24 13:20:31 EST 2010

How about "noncompositional"?  This word and its opposite have fairly
technical linguistic meanings.  A "compositional" phrase (= expression)
is one whose meaning can be (correctly) inferred only by knowing the
meanings of their parts and the semantic rule associated with the syntax
form of the expression.  So an expression like "a red apple" means
precisely what you would expect if you knew the meaning of "a", "red",
and "apple", and knew how to combine a determinative, an adjective, and
a noun into a noun phrase.

It's not a perfect match.  Single-word anaphor (like "it") wouldn't
normally be called noncompositional because there's nothing to compose
there---the word just has a complex meaning.  And in natural language
there's no analogue at all to the more complex things that macros can
do.  But to the extent that a hygienic macro system tries to make it
difficult (or impossible) to write macros that capture values, and a lot
of people informally use the term "unhygienic macro" to refer to "macros
that hygienic macro systems try to prevent", the core thing that's being
prevented is essentially noncompositionality.

To turn it around, if I hand you a compositional expression, I also hand
you the syntax rule and the values of all evaluable sub-expressions,
then you can 100% reliably hand back the value of the overall
expression, and this seems to be the core desideratum when people start
talking about hygienic macro system.

-=-Don Blaheta-=-dblaheta at monm.edu-=-=-<http://www.monmsci.net/~dblaheta/>-=-
"The "melting pot" theory works in some areas in the larger cities. The
"salad bowl" theory works rather well for other towns and cities. But I
propose a third theory that covers vast areas of the US. The "child's plate"
theory. In this theory all of the foods are separated into their own groups
and if the ketchup touches the green beans all hell breaks loose."
							--Brian Pyle

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