I wasn't joking, you know. This was a perfectly serious post. The dependency of modern programming on reading standard alphabetic western english is unnecessary.

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When I was in the US and coming with my then-partner to tech conferences, tech people there would say things about programming languages, like this is the easiest or most readable one, because it's almost like English.
I had to challenge that even though I don't know shit, and ask why; maybe some more maths-like notation would be more accessible to more people, or ask them to explain why English is peak readability/ease of use.

@owl I find it outrageous that we "teach kids to code" then shove basic logic behind a literacy barrier. Or that we prioritize as "easy" what resembles the default English speaking university experience.


@feonixrift Yeah. That's another thing, academic English uses language and vocabulary that basically isn't used ever elsewhere (correct me if I'm wrong.)
Like, what is a tensor? I've never heard that word outside of math/tech contexts, and explanations invoke other words I've never heard.
In Icelandic a tensor is called þinur, which is a common word that also means fir [tree], and it generally does not have this separate elite academic language.

@owl @feonixrift But tensor's not English. it's Latin, from stretching, which also names a tendon, or tension.

If German or French were the academic language instead of English, it'd still be a tensor.

We have to have a common scientific language, or everyone's isolated from each others' work, as happened a lot in the Renaissance when vulgar languages replaced Latin & Greek.

@mdhughes @feonixrift
Are you saying that English words with Latin roots are not English words?
So if I simply know Latin, it's not hard?
So I should use tensōrēs as the nominative plural?

@owl @feonixrift They're not *exclusively* English. You'll find the same Latin words in French or German scientific papers, and many others; any attempt to localize them just isolates the work.

@mdhughes @feonixrift
It's good IMO when words fit with the rules of a language, otherwise you end up having to learn a lot of special cases instead of generally applicable rules.

We were also talking about (academic) English being held up as the easiest/most accessible thing.

If someone was doing the same with academic German or academic French I would challenge that too.

@mdhughes @feonixrift
And we have to translate to and from these dominant languages anyway, which I think is something that many native English speakers overlook.
That's just the everyday experience.

@owl @feonixrift But local languages don't get widely published, because we've chosen a single academic language for most purposes.

Computing especially, unless the Nazis won WWII, or somehow the Soviets weren't a disaster, was always going to be all English.

So, if your first language isn't English, it'd better be your second one if you want to do any science or technology. And the third one is all the Latin (and some Greek) science jargon.

@mdhughes @feonixrift
Who's "we"?
English speakers? :)

I can do it just fine in another language, thank you.

@owl @mdhughes The sarcastic and diminutive 'we,' was my intent, directed toward this supposed scientific community which has a supposed consensus on English. (It is far from my experience personally; I have to read at least four languages, one way or another, for research reasons and three of four others would be very useful if I had them.)

@owl @feonixrift If the Nazis, or Soviets, or Chinese had won, I'd use their lingua franca, instead of this one. It'd also really suck to be in those timelines, shockingly even worse than this one. Oh no American hegemony is so evil they sell us hamburgers and Disney princesses (and sometimes drone strikes oops).

Anyway. My whole point with this thread was that "tensor" is not some weird English word, it's a perfectly nice Latin word that describes what it does.

getting a bit political 

@mdhughes @owl I do not accept 'we won' as just cause for hegemony. Diversity in language, diversity in knowledge. IDIC not monoculture.

getting a bit political 

@feonixrift @owl <shrug> I like universal communication, a single common language. This planetary hivemind isn't gonna build itself if nobody can think compatible words.

It doesn't immediately bring about world peace, but it's slightly less annoying and hostile if you can shout at each other in the same language. Without it, you find faulty translators, or just resort immediately to force.

getting a bit political 

The place where I live is multilingual and it works fine.
Most chill place I've lived.
I'm sorry if you've had bad experiences with that, but a lot of people have had bad experiences with having English (or French, or...) forced upon them too.

getting a bit political 

Historically, here, it's been the church or the state trying to force a single language/religion/culture/economical system onto everyone that's caused problems.
It's still a source of problems, but at least the language situation has gotten better.

@mdhughes @owl Oh yes, this Lingua Franca works great for us .. English speakers. And surely there is no fragmentation we say, because we do not read the academic literature published in Chinese or Arabic. Monoculture is nightmare fuel.

@mdhughes @owl @feonixrift Thinking that we have common scientific language sounds like something a person with English as their first language would think...

@jonne @mdhughes @owl @feonixrift This. One common thread that I've come across on a field after field is that a lot of scientific research is happening in Brazil (elsewhere, too, and in many other languages, but most commonly it's about Brazil for some reason), but the US scientists just don't know about it because they can't read Portuguese.

And instead of taking the hint and learning Portuguese they're just like ”it's not in English so it's not important”.

@Stoori @jonne @mdhughes @owl @feonixrift I gotta admit, I still think a common language for development is a good idea. I, a native German speaker, am currently writing a paper about a field of study in which chinese universities have made a lot of progress. Even if I would learn Mandarin, they then could not read my (German) work, which would be based on their research. English or not, a lingua franca is very useful

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