Does China Program in Chinese?

It’s a dumb question, I know. Still I can’t help but wonder how programming evolved in other countries. Think about it a moment. Programming languages are shaped around the English grammar, many of them created to resemble the English language as closely as possible. If you come from a foreign country, like Russia or Japan then wouldn’t you have double the learning curve adopting a grammar that’s based on a language that you don’t speak? I bring this up because I am a huge believer in the fact that programming languages are made for humans. That means the grammar, syntax, and idioms present in the language should map closely as possible to the grammar, syntax, and idioms you use every day. It’s when they don’t line up that we begin to have problems.

Let’s think about it another way. Suppose we had Japanese, Russian, Swedish, etc. compilers. What problem have we solved? What problems have we created? What is the net profit margin on the problem exchange? (That last sentence means did we end with more or less problems than where we began. Don’t ask why I worded it so weird. I have a habit of making things more complicated to justify my existence on this planet.) If we create locale-specific compilers to deal with the user’s specific semantics then we’ve solved the problem of user program-language comprehension and closely lined up the program model with the user model. This is a huge profit that should not be under estimated. However we’ve introduced the possibility of cross country code sharing as program source written in Italy will not compiler with the German-Java compiler. We could, of course, include the Italian-Java compiler but the new user now suffers from the original problem we set out to eliminate.

I’m not pretending to have the answer to the problem here. I’m not even suggesting a problem to begin with. See I don’t get out often so I don’t think I could even pretend to know what a Finnish Python script would look like. I was just sitting here reading a tech article when it dawned on me. How the heck did the original Chinese programmers adopt C? (Was it C or was it something more esoterice like Fortran or ADA?) Also, why come (yes I said “why come” all ghetto-like instead of “how come”. It’s my blog and you just have to sit there and read it…) there ain’t no wide-spread programming languages that are based on foreign languages? Hit me up if y’know what I don’t know, y’know?

3 thoughts on “Does China Program in Chinese?

  1. Computers basically started in North America, and except for manufacturing they are still primarily developed in English countries. I can’t think of any one programming language that wasn’t developed in an English dominant country. I don’t think there’s any “reason” for it, other than the fact that nobody in a non-English country has stepped up to the plate and developed a language built on non-English grammars.

    IMHO the “real” language neutral language is still assembly.

  2. Ahh, assembly! Recently I’d been toying with some OSes written completely in Assembly. (Found in a Linux Format cover disc.) I should roll my sleeves and dive into some low-level stuff. We all should every once in a while. It’s good for your cholesterol, y’know?

  3. So – as I understand it — the MS C compilers (maybe all compilers?) sold in France must accept French equivalent keywords

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