net.notation 
Author Message
 net.notation

I found a passage in Stoy's, "Denotational Semantics: The Scott-Strachey
Approach to Programming Language Theory" (pp.8-9) which I thought others
might find amusing:    (Rich Wagner)

    Incidentally, the fuzziness of the boundary [between syntax and
    semantics] is much worse when dealing with natural languages.
    There are many situations (for example, "Time flies like an
    arrow", compared with "Fruit flies like a banana") where semantic
    questions (the existence or otherwise of fruit flies and time
    flies) affect the parse.  In other examples (e.g. "Our mothers
    bore us") the probable characteristics of the objects described
    affect the syntax.  The situation is much easier with artificial
    languages -- we design them ourselves, so we can take care to
    avoid such horrors.  This may indicate that "language" is the
    wrong word to use for the objects of our study, and that perhaps
    the word "notation" would give a more accurate impression of
    what we are about: we do not normally talk about "the language
    of tensors", or "Leibnitz's language for the integral calculus".
    But we are bedevilled by over-inflated jargon in computing
    (usually implying unwarranted anthropomorphisation), and we must
    learn to live with it.



Mon, 19 Apr 1993 15:36:00 GMT  
 
 [ 1 post ] 

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