Programming and linguistics — Makers Week 1

I’ve only just noticed what the acronym spells.
*Actually, I was lying. Trump is like most humans in having more facility in the grammar of his native language than any currently existing Natural Language Processing program.
(How he managed to get in my pajamas, I’ll never know.)
Look: if brains had command lines, maybe they’d be like this.
It’s turtles all the way down.
  • Inheritance. A ‘child’ object tends to inherit properties from its ‘parent’ class, e.g. all string objects know how to concatenate. In English, quoted speech inherits tense from the main clause, but it didn’t have to be that way; Ancient Greek for example just reports exactly the tense that would have been said: ‘Yesterday Christina complained that she is hungry.
  • Scope. Programming languages have rules about where a variable is ‘local’ to, affecting what parts of the program will be able to parse it. In the English sentence ‘Bill thinks Jill should pat himself on the back’, ‘himself’ can’t be parsed, even though ‘Bill’ is right there at the start of the sentence; ‘himself’ is in a lower level of the sentence than ‘Bill’ and has local scope, so it can’t see further left than ‘Jill’. This kind of thing gets complicated fast. As another example, ‘she’ can refer to ‘Olu’ in ‘As she says, Olu can answer’ but not in ‘She says Olu can answer’, pivoting on whether ‘says’ is taking ‘Olu can answer’ as an argument.




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David Mears

David Mears

This is my programming blog.

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