I have become interested in languages which I cannot make up, which I cannot create or even create in: I have become interested in languages which I can only come up upon (as I disappear), a pirate upon buried treasure. The dreamer, the dreaming, the dream. I call these languages, languages of the body.
It may be worth while to illustrate this view of classification, by taking the case of languages. If we possessed a perfect pedigree of mankind, a genealogical arrangement of the races of man would afford the best classification of the various languages now spoken throughout the world; and if all extinct languages, and all intermediate and slowly changing dialects, were to be included, such an arrangement would be the only possible one. Yet it might be that some ancient languages had altered very little and had given rise to few new languages, whilst others had altered much owing to the spreading, isolation, and state of civilisation of the several co-descended races, and had thus given rise to many new dialects and languages. The various degrees of difference between the languages of the same stock, would have to be expressed by groups subordinate to groups; but the proper or even the only possible arrangement would still be genealogical; and this would be strictly natural, as it would connect together all languages, extinct and recent, by the closest affinities, and would give the filiation and origin of each tongue.
My impression was and is that many programming languages and tools represent solutions looking for problems, and I was determined that my work should not fall into that category. Thus, I follow the literature on programming languages and the debates about programming languages primarily looking for ideas for solutions to problems my colleagues and I have encountered in real applications. Other programming languages constitute a mountain of ideas and inspiration-but it has to be mined carefully to avoid featurism and inconsistencies.
The great shift ... is the movement away from the value-laden languages of ... the "humanities," and toward the ostensibly value-neutral languages of the "sciences." This attempt to escape from, or to deny, valuation is ... especially important in psychology ... and the so-called social sciences. Indeed, one could go so far as to say that the specialized languages of these disciplines serve virtually no other purpose than to conceal valuation behind an ostensibly scientific and therefore nonvaluational semantic screen.
To use two languages familiarly and without contaminating one by the other, is very difficult; and to use more than two is hardly to be hoped. The prizes which some have received for their multiplicity of languages may be sufficient to excite industry, but can hardly generate confidence.
Although mathematical notation undoubtedly possesses parsing rules, they are rather loose, sometimes contradictory, and seldom clearly stated. [...] The proliferation of programming languages shows no more uniformity than mathematics. Nevertheless, programming languages do bring a different perspective. [...] Because of their application to a broad range of topics, their strict grammar, and their strict interpretation, programming languages can provide new insights into mathematical notation.
Kenneth E. Iverson
I can read more languages than I speak! I speak French and Italian - not very well, alas, but I can get by. I read German and Spanish. I can read Latin (I did a lot of Latin at school.) I'm afraid I do not speak any African languages, although I can understand a little bit of the Zulu-related languages, but only a tiny bit.
Alexander McCall Smith
Isn't language loss a good thing, because fewer languages mean easier communication among the world's people? Perhaps, but it's a bad thing in other respects. Languages differ in structure and vocabulary, in how they express causation and feelings and personal responsibility, hence in how they shape our thoughts. There's no single purpose "best" language; instead, different languages are better suited for different purposes. For instance, it may not have been an accident that Plato and Aristotle wrote in Greek, while Kant wrote in German. The grammatical particles of those two languages, plus their ease in forming compound words, may have helped make them the preeminent languages of western philosophy. Another example, familiar to all of us who studied Latin, is that highly inflected languages (ones in which word endings suffice to indicate sentence structure) can use variations of word order to convey nuances impossible with English. Our English word order is severely constrained by having to serve as the main clue to sentence structure. If English becomes a world language, that won't be because English was necessarily the best language for diplomacy.
If one could speak two languages well and was raised on tea and baguettes for breakfast, in places where the most mundane daily business on the street is conducted in four languages, where horse carts park at cyber cafes, where would one go? Where could one go? Why, with a smile and a handshake, very far, indeed!
In our generation, everybody told us that it's really important and it's nice to be able to speak a lot of languages. It's an art, too. It really impresses me, people who speak, like, seven languages. I admire them so much, so I began with English, and then Spanish and maybe Portuguese.
Always, in epochs when the languages and dialects of a culture have become outstripped by development of a practical sort, these languages become repetitive, formalised -- and ridiculous. Phrases, words, associations of sentences spin themselves out automatically, but have no effect: they have lost their power, their energy.
My research suggests that men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same, using similar words to encode disparate experiences of self and social relationships. Because these languages share an overlapping moral vocabulary, they contain a propensity for systematic mistranslation ...
My particular interest for the past couple of years has been to really think deeply about the big impendence mismatch we have between programming languages, C# in particular, and the database world, like SQL or, for that matter, the XML world, like XQuery and those languages that exist.
Americans don't speak foreign languages, by and large. Their interest in anything beyond the borders of the country is limited. A European of any cultivation has to speak a couple of languages; he inevitably without being very thoughtful about it gets to understand what other people think about him.
When she's older, I'll send her to Spain so she learns to speak Spanish fluently. I look at my friends' children in Europe and everybody speaks multiple languages. It's such a gift to go to a country and converse with people in their native tongue. It opens doors for you, so I hope she'll learn a lot of languages.
Lisp was far more powerful and flexible than any other language of its day; in fact, it is still a better design than most languages of today, twenty-five years later. Lisp freed ITS's hackers to think in unusual and creative ways. It was a major factor in their successes, and remains one of hackerdom's favorite languages.
Eric S. Raymond
It would be better to have no school at all than the schools we now have. Encouraged, instead of frightened, children could learn several languages before reaching age of four, at that age engaging in the invention of their own languages. Play'd be play instead of being, as now, release of repressed anger.
Religion and philosophy have different logics, speak different languages. Their logics are mutually exclusive, languages sometimes overlapping. It is hard to find something really common in them. I think I-a man in totally unconditional pursuit of happiness, whatever it is, wherever it lies-am only supposed to consider which of them has more in common with life!
I sing in Hungarian. I read Hungarian. I do not pretend to speak Hungarian, but I sing in languages that I have studied as languages. And I find that to be central and very, very helpful. I think if you're not really cognizant of what every single word means, I think that might be a little tricky.
The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The 'thing in itself' (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for.
One of the things that was really influential early on was Ezra Pound's Cantos, one poem he worked on for 50 years. It's epic. I had a great deal of difficulty understanding it. One of the problems was you'd be reading along in English and he would move to a Chinese ideogram or French-he actually used seven different languages in a given poem. And for somebody who's not fluent in different languages it has the impact of rupturing your way of understanding something.
God' is the name given to the most 'important' human idea. In English, as in other languages, the original sense of the word is obscure. But the character of the name is the same in all languages: it is a question. 'God' is the question 'Is there something more important than, something besides, man?
Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality. I have been for many years a teacher of languages. It is an occupation which at length becomes fatal to whatever share of imagination, observation, and insight an ordinary person may be heir to. To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.
To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that languages are human creations.~ The suggestion that truth~ is out there is a legacy of an age in which the world was seen as the creation of a being who had a language his own.
No one really knew the sciences except the Lord Robert, Bishop of Lincoln, by reason of his length of life and experience, as well as of his studiousness and zeal. He knew mathematics and perspective, and there was nothing which he was unable to know; and at the same time he was sufficiently acquainted with languages to be able to understand the saints and the philosophers and the wise men of antiquity but his knowledge of languages was not such as to enable him to effect translations until the latter portion of his life...
I am not of the opinion generally entertained in this country [England], that man lives by Greek and Latin alone; that is, by knowing a great many words of two dead languages, which nobody living knows perfectly, and which are of no use in the common intercourse of life. Useful knowledge, in my opinion, consists of modern languages, history, and geography; some Latin may be thrown into the bargain, in compliance with custom, and for closet amusement.
The benefits of becoming fluent in a foreign tongue are as underestimated as the difficulty is overestimated. Thousands of theoretical linguists will disagree, but I know from research and personal experimentation with more than a dozen languages that (1) adults can learn languages much faster than children when constant 9-5 work is removed and that (2) it is possible to become conversationally fluent in any language in six months or less. At four hours per day, six months can be whittled down to less than three months.
Considering the fact that the Harappan script may have been proto-Brahmi, the underlying language to be expected should be Sanskrit, or proto-Sanskrit, or derivatives of Sanskrit. Many of the rules of evolution that apply to scripts are equivalently true for languages too. Like scripts, languages too render themselves to similar evolutionary inspections, as they too carry imprints of their journey down the ages.
We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library, whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend but only dimly suspects.
Overemphasis of efficiency leads to an unfortunate circularity in design: for reasons of efficiency early programming languages reflected the characteristics of the early computers, and each generation of computers reflects the needs of the programming languages of the preceding generation.
Kenneth E. Iverson
Von Neumann languages do not have useful properties for reasoning about programs. Axiomatic and denotational semantics are precise tools for describing and understanding conventional programs, but they only talk about them and cannot alter their ungainly properties. Unlike von Neumann languages, the language of ordinary algebra is suitable both for stating its laws and for transforming an equation into its solution, all within the "language.
[T]hat all seekers of knowledge should use the identical language to think and to read and write is not a development to which humanity can remain indifferent. Reality is constructed by languages, and the existence of a variety of languages means the existence of a variety of realities, a variety of truths. Understanding the multifaceted nature of truth does not necessarily make people happy, but it makes them humble, and mature, and wise. It makes them worthy of the name Homo sapiens.
Because cultures and languages are constantly changing and because the apostolic testimony must be attested in ever-new circumstances, it is a necessary feature of the apostolic tradition that it both guard the original testimony and make it understandable in new culture settings. Failing either is to default on the apostolic tradition. Far from implying unbending immobility, apostolicity requires constant adaptation of the primitive apostolic testimony to new historical challenges and languages, yet without altering or diluting the primitive witness.
Thomas C. Oden
And there are also languages that divide nouns into much more specific genders. The African language Supyire from Mali has five genders: humans, big things, small things, collectives, and liquids. Bantu languages such as Swahili have up to ten genders, and the Australian language Ngan'gityemerri is said to have fifteen different genders, which include, among others, masculine human, feminine human, canines, non-canine animals, vegetables, drinks, and two different genders for spears (depending on size and material).
We have also obtained a glimpse of another crucial idea about languages and program design. This is the approach of statified design, the notion that a complex system should be structured as a sequence of levels that are described using a sequence of languages. Each level is constructed by combining parts that are regarded as primitive at that level, and the parts constructed at each level are used as primitives at the next level. The language used at each level of a stratified design has primitives, means of combination, and means of abstraction appropriate to that level of detail.
There is a single truth, it filters through different stories and languages because people come from different cultures and speak different languages. And this truth has manifested itself through millennia, in multiple ways. Different people belong to different manifestations of truth. Some people take those manifestations and turn them into religions, or into gathering places or into a system. Others take those manifestations and allow that light to illuminate the paths on their inward journeys. All in all, the only reason why there is strife or hatred in any way, is because of the strife and hatred and intolerance inside of people. Truth does not call for any division or any hatred or intolerance of any kind. In order to love one thing, this does not mean we need to put down another one.
C. JoyBell C.
What was after the universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be a wall; but there could be a thin thin line there all round everything. It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that. He tried to think what a big thought that must be; but he could only think of God. God was God's name just as his name was Stephen. Dieu was the French for God and that was God's name too; and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu then God knew at once that it was a French person that was praying. But, though there were different names for God in all the different languages in the world and God understood what all the people who prayed said in their different languages, still God remained always the same God and God's real name was God.
Mowaljarlai rarely answered questions with an abstract explanation; he always told a story. His was not a fragmented world, divided into the convenient disciplinary languages and jargon that seem to be required for the understanding of concepts and principles in, for example, mathematics, physics, art and literature. Not only did he not have these languages; he thought this was a strange way to arrive at understanding the way in which the world lives in itself. It baffled him that whitefellas developed their knowledge by busting things up, reducing things to little pieces separate from everything else that contributes to their nature. For him, everything in creation is not only living and interconnected, but exists in a story and story cycle. Yet his knowledge of what whitefellas call 'science' was extraordinary.' p80-1.
Hannah Rachel Bell