Apostolos\’ Daily Plate

Programming and Linguistic Imperialism

Posted in Παιδεία, Πληροφορική by asyropoulos on Αύγουστος 3, 2014

In 2010, the book Steps in Scala, which I co-authored, was published by Cambridge University Press. The book got various reviews but I think the reviews that complained about Greek variable names were teh most annoying! The book was written by two people whose native language is not English and who use their own language in the programs they write. A practice that is followed by the majority of programmers since most programmers do not have English as their native language. In addition, the Unicode standard was created to allow computer system to handle non-Latin characters in a unified way. Thus, although all modern operating systems are Unicode-aware and provide many different keyboard layouts, still people think that in programming one should use only English! And although in both Java and Scala one can use ant Unicode character in the name of an identifier, still most books do not bother showing examples where this happens, the book got a bad review because we dared to use Greek and Cyrillic letters in many examples! Go figure…

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