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Python, Dutch, English, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

The never-ending debate about PEP 3131 got me thinking
about natural languages with respect to Python, and I
have a bunch of mostly simple observations (some
factual, some anecdotal). I present these mostly as
food for thought, but I do make my own
continent-by-continent recommendations at the bottom
of the email. (My own linguistic biases are also
disclosed at the bottom of the email.)

Nationality of various technologists who use English
to some degree (keywords in their languages, etc.):

van Rossum -- Dutch-born, now lives in California
Wall -- American
Matz -- Japanese
Ritchie -- American
Stroustroup -- Danish-born, lives in Texas
Gosling -- Canadian
McCarthy -- American
Torvalds -- Finnish-born (but family spoke
Swedish), lives in Oregon
Stallman -- American
Berners-Lee -- English-born, did major work in
Geneva

A sampling of largish countries where English is
fairly widely known:

United States (82% of inhabitants speak it at
home), Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South
Africa, India

about China:
largest country in the world by population
Mandarin Chinese has 850 million speakers
written Chinese dates back 4000 years, employs
5000 characters

about India:

second largest country in the world by population
official languages: Hindi, English, and 21 others
major software outsourcing center (anecdotal)
Hindi is Indo-European language with distinctively
different alphabet from English

about Japan:
10th largest population
world leader in robotics
Japanese language mostly spoken in Japan
major linguistic influences: Chinese, English,
Dutch
kanji = Chinese characters
hiragana and katakana -- syllabic scripts
Latin alphabet often used in modern Japanese (see
wikipedia)

some European alphabets:

Spanish -- accented, includes digraphs ch and ll
German -- accented
French -- accented
Italian -- accented, no J/K/W/X/Y

Bringing Python to the world (all opinion here):

Even in English-speaking countries, Python is
greatly underutilized.

Even in environments where programmers commonly use
ASCII encoding, Python is greatly underutilized.

Any focus on the current English/ASCII bias of
Python should mostly concern Asia, due its large
population, the 80/20 rule, the prevalence of
different writing systems in large Asian countries,
Asia's influence on technology in general, etc. (not
to mention Ruby!)

Asia:

Python should be *completely* internationaliz ed for
Mandarin, Japanese, and possibly Hindi and Korean.
Not just identifiers. I'm talking the entire
language, keywords and all.

Europe:

Lobby EU for more funding for PyPy. Promote
cultural acceptance of English-ized spelling in the
context of writing software programs.

North America:

Marketing, marketing, marketing.

South America:

Focus first on translating Python documents, books,
etc. to Spanish.

Africa:

write Python code for the XO-1 (aka $100 laptop)

Australia:

no worries

Antartica:

more Penguins than people

My linguistic biases:

1) I speak American English natively.
2) I live in a very multilingual city.
3) I took 6 years of French in high school, but I
get very little exposure to the language in my
day-to-day life.
4) I hear a LOT of Spanish in day-to-day life, and
I have first semester literacy.
5) I have never learned Arabic, Mandarin,
Japanese, just to name a few major world languages.
6) I have written software that has been
translated from English to other languages, but I only
once been the primary person to do the actual
internationaliz ation, and it was a small project.
7) Lots of U.S.-based programmers that I have
worked with speak English as their second or third
language.



_______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _________
Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search
that gives answers, not web links.
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Jun 4 '07 #1
12 2758
Steve Howell <sh*******@yaho o.comwrote:
>about Japan:
major linguistic influences: Chinese, English,
Dutch
English and Dutch are minor linguistic influences.
kanji = Chinese characters
hiragana and katakana -- syllabic scripts
Latin alphabet often used in modern Japanese (see
wikipedia)
The Latin alphabet is generally only used for western or westernized
names, like Sony.
>Asia:

Python should be *completely* internationaliz ed for
Mandarin, Japanese, and possibly Hindi and Korean.
Not just identifiers. I'm talking the entire
language, keywords and all.
This would be more convincing if it came from someone who spoke Mandarin,
Japanese, Hindi or Korean.

btw. Mandarin is a spoken dialect Chinese, what you're actually asking
for is a Simplified-Chinese version of Python.

Ross Ridge

--
l/ // Ross Ridge -- The Great HTMU
[oo][oo] rr****@csclub.u waterloo.ca
-()-/()/ http://www.csclub.uwaterloo.ca/~rridge/
db //
Jun 4 '07 #2

Steve Howell je napisao/la:
some European alphabets:

Spanish -- accented, includes digraphs ch and ll
German -- accented
French -- accented
Italian -- accented, no J/K/W/X/Y
what about slavic languages?
in croatian you have five accented letters plus three letters for
digrahps. russian, bulgarian, serbian, macedonian, ukranian etc. use
cyrilic alphabet (lets not forget that russia isn't that small -
around 150 million people), polish also has some of its own
characters...
all in all, it is estimated that some 400 million people speak slavic
languages...

Jun 4 '07 #3
Agreed, but FWIW, if you compared Slavic-writing
people to Chinese-writing people, I would think that a
higher percentage of Slavic-writing people would be
bilingual in terms of their ability to write code in
non-Slavic alphabets, due to various
cultural/geographical factors.
of course. but maybe it would be a nice effort to enable writing code
in cyrillic, since it is a whole new alphabet. for the accented
letters from slavic (or other) languages, i agree that one wouldn't
gain much from enabling their use in source code.
but my point being, if we are going to add chinese and japanese, why
not do everything right and add all languages/alphabets? after all,
after adding chinese, how hard can it be to add a few accedented
letters :)
>
I don't predict a huge upswing in Slavic-writing
Python programmers after PEP 3131, even among
children.
you are probably right.

Jun 4 '07 #4
Et le klingon ?

Please, don't forget klingons
SVP, n'oubliez pas les klingons

;o)
Jun 4 '07 #5

Méta-MCI je napisao/la:
Et le klingon ?

Please, don't forget klingons
SVP, n'oubliez pas les klingons

;o)
je pense que le klingon utilise les mems lettres comme l'anglais

Jun 4 '07 #6

Lol!

What is a "sharp hair boss" ?

My boss does not look like a punk !

But he does want me to dance "la Java".

Jun 4 '07 #7
On Jun 4, 11:54 am, Ross Ridge <rri...@caffein e.csclub.uwater loo.ca>
wrote:
Steve Howell <showel...@yaho o.comwrote:
about Japan:
major linguistic influences: Chinese, English,
Dutch

English and Dutch are minor linguistic influences.
Obviously. But language evolves.
>
Asia:
Python should be *completely* internationaliz ed for
Mandarin, Japanese, and possibly Hindi and Korean.
Not just identifiers. I'm talking the entire
language, keywords and all.

This would be more convincing if it came from someone who spoke Mandarin,
Japanese, Hindi or Korean.
I'm a Chinese.
Language/English is really a big problem for Chinese programmers.
If python can be written in Chinese, it may become the most popular
program language in China(though popular alreay).
Considering the potential large amount of users in China, the effort
of internationaliz ation for Chinese will totally worth.
btw. Mandarin is a spoken dialect Chinese, what you're actually asking
for is a Simplified-Chinese version of Python.
Mandarin is not a friendly way of saying Chinese and it is totally
unacceptable in some area.
Either Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese will be better.

and last but not least, python ROCKS.

Jun 4 '07 #8
In article <f4**********@r umours.uwaterlo o.ca>,
Ross Ridge <rr****@caffein e.csclub.uwater loo.cawrote:
>Steve Howell <sh*******@yaho o.comwrote:
>>about Japan:
major linguistic influences: Chinese, English,
Dutch

English and Dutch are minor linguistic influences.
Jun 4 '07 #9
In article <11************ **********@z28g 2000prd.googleg roups.com>,
ahlongxp <ah******@gmail .comwrote:
Jun 4 '07 #10

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