On Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 10:24:23 UTC, Chris wrote:
On Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 18:46:06 UTC, Walter Bright
On 1/22/2014 3:40 AM, Chris wrote:
Syntax is getting simplified due to the fact that the
listener "knows what we
mean", e.g. "buy one get one free". I wonder to what extent
languages will be
simplified one day. But this is a topic for a whole book ...
There was this article recently:
about how english is so redundant one can write sentences
using just the first letter of each word, and it is actually
These examples are more about context than redundancy in the
grammar. This is very interesting, because the burden is more
and more on the listener and less on the speaker. The speaker
can omit things relying on the listener's common sense or
knowledge of the world (or "you know what I mean" skills). In
the beginning, languages were quite complicated (8 or more
cases, inflections), but over the centuries things have been
simplified, probably due to the fact that humans are
experienced enough and can now trust the "interpreter" in the
A good example are headlines. A classic is "Driver refused
license". Now, everybody will assume that it was not the driver
who refused the license (default assumption or the _unmarked
case_). If it were in fact the driver who refused the license,
the headline would have been different, some sort of linguistic
flag would have been raised. This goes into the realms of
pragmatics, a very interesting discipline. Some of the concepts
found in natural languages can also be found in programming
languages. I find it extremely interesting how the human mind
(not just language) is reflected in programming languages.
Headlines are a good source. My favourites are from WW2...
MacArthur flies back to front.
British push bottles up Germans.