Do programming languages classify as linguistics?

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  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Sure. Step one in making a new language is defining your grammar.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      So could someone with a background in computer science benefit from that when going into the study of languages?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Knowing a bit about context free grammar and the basic concepts of language analysis couldn't hurt.

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Neither here nor there, but my undergrad curriculum regarded taking a basic programming course as a sufficient condition for exposure to some sort of a second language. It does make some sense.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    STEMgay here, in my opinion, no. Programming languages are technically "languages" in that they define a set of words and a grammar that can be used to communicate concepts but they're not really the same as the natural languages. For me personally the critical difference is that they activate different regions of the brain, reading and writing in english has a very different feel to it than working in python or whatever. Programming languages are very small relative to natural ones and are (for the most part) merely sequences of instructions for the computer to execute, they're not really capable of or intended for the wide range of expression that natural languages are. The only real overlap between linguistics and programming that I can think of is the chomsky hierarchy and frankly that's something 99% of working programmers won't ever need to know.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Agreed.This is why the term "artificial intelligence" is a misnomer.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >critical difference is that they activate different regions of the brain
      Yes, this is a perceptive point and interesting post. According to McGilchrist's hemisphere differences programming languages and natural languages would be opposed as left and (more) right hemispheric respectively. Programming languages are about getting machines to do things and so primarily involve the left, while natural languages as means of expression involve a human and social dimension which involves the right hemisphere.

      https://i.imgur.com/YTh2De6.jpeg

      I think of programming as a language for very autistic people who love precision. A lot less ambiguity and rhetoric/verbal trickery won't get you anywhere. Pure logic. The language of the gods.

      I think precision is the key word there, because precision is not the same as accuracy. Natural languages are imprecise but are much more accurate overall in describing the world, since the world in many respects is itself ambiguous. Programming languages are very precise but are more limited in what they can do (namely that they only give and execute commands).

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Linguistics is the study of natural, human languages. However in the 1960s Chomsky's theory of formal languages was influential with computer scientists creating programming languages, so they are somewhat related.

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I think of programming as a language for very autistic people who love precision. A lot less ambiguity and rhetoric/verbal trickery won't get you anywhere. Pure logic. The language of the gods.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Barkon

      Trendy

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Not really, though it makes enough sense to call a programming language a language and one popular programming language (Perl) was created by a linguist. Linguistics as a discipline doesn't seem a good match for programming languages.
    Linguistics is very focused on analysis and description, reasoning backward to figure out what the rules actually are (surprisingly difficult, the rules exist in your head but you don't have direct conscious access to them) and how they naturally change over time.
    For programming languages the main issue is design, the opposite direction. The rules are invented and intended to be clear and easy to formally understand. It's about figuring out what rules should be created, or how to work within the rules that exist.
    Sometimes it's about figuring out the exact implications of the known formal rules, or about detecting mismatches between the formal rules and the rules as actually implemented. But this also seems different from what linguists spend most of their time on.
    Where linguistics could maybe apply more fruitfully is the styles and conventions that naturally develop on top of the formal rules. There's code that many people would write and there's code that nobody would write (or even easily understand) even though it's just as formally valid. Automated code analysis makes use of these sorts of patterns: trying to detect mistakes in all possible formally correct is often extremely hard while looking at the code 95% of people actually write may be much easier. There are bits of code that obey the formal rules but that can reasonably be assumed to be a mistake by the author. Then you're not so much analyzing the programming language itself but rather a natural language that developed on top of it. Probably people have tried to do research this way but I'm not aware of it.
    t. knows a lot about programming languages and only a little about linguistics

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >the rules exist in your head but you don't have direct conscious access to them
      What do you mean by that?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        there is a branch called computational linguistics but that is just for voice and word analysis.

        from Wikipedia: Programming language theory (PLT) is a branch of computer science that deals with the design, implementation, analysis, characterization, and classification of formal languages known as programming languages.

        Not that anon but imagine you are blind and you are inside a box, you have to use your hands to feel around and understand the shape of the box you are in. its like that but your hands are your code and the box is the environment. this is what people mean when they say things like limit testing or break point, they are working to determine the "range" in which something can function.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Barkon

          Yes. You are super mad. My madness is infused with yours. You may note two things. That your madness can be worked out by its flavor and how much it has benefited. And that this isn't how things naturally work, it is super mad. That unlocked program on Netflix, none of these prisoner acts are normal, they're actually abnormal.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Are you a bot or a schizo?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wh-movement is a nice example.
        "Alice likes Bob" can be transformed into "Whom does Alice like?". You remove the subject and tack "whom" in front.
        But "Sam ate beans and broccoli" cannot be transformed into "What did Sam eat beans and?". (You can do "Sam ate beans and what?" or "What did Sam eat besides beans?" though.)
        You instinctively know that the first example works and the second doesn't. And there is a rule for this. So the rule exists somewhere in your brain. But you can't write the exact rule down, all you can do is generate examples. So to discover the rule you have to make up lots of examples and notice the underlying patterns. (Which linguists did.)

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    You're not communicating with another conscious being that needs to interpret what you say, you're building an (abstract) machine out of elements with a precise function that happen to be encoded in words, for our convenience. But it's like calling circuit design a language, just with a special set of symbols. It's engineering and it's really quite different.

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    No, but with LLMs we are going to program using natural language, so autists and troons are fricked.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      you really dont know what you are talking about lmao

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        LLMs are getting better and better, man. No more you will need programming socks and mental illness to program your shitty website or videogame.

        Each year it gets better.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          yeah bro because every program is 100 lines long and the solution is already on stack overflow lmao

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Sorry man, your job will be deprecated. Better learn to weld or be a plumber.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            yeah any day now. i wonder what the trend is for the number of developer jobs per year. at least i can still sell my furry porn.

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    No, they're largely different, especially in purpose - natural languages are for communication, programming languages are abstractions of sequences of machine instructions; I would not consider dictating instructions to a machine anything like communication, its merely a linguistic trick, an convenient analogy for an otherwise rote, technical task. Programming languages are real languages in the same way as any interface (lightswitch, keyboard, my wiener, etc.) is a language (it isn't, but it sounds smart if you say it is, and people like to personify computers so they get it.)
    What they have in common is that the people who study them in-depth are deeply entrenched in theory, they're by-in-large out to lunch (fricking Chomsky)
    Programming languages are also on average worse than natural languages - most PLs are at the aesthetic level of African click-speak, but most real world languages aren't that bad (save Chinese, SEAnog-speak, Arabic, Caucasian languages, etc.)

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