> > > Perl is easier to parse simply because all the irregularities are known
> > > and documented.  They're not in English.  In addition to the above
> > Uhm, where?
> The perl source code *is* the documentation.  There is no direct equivalent
> for the English language, as it is really whatever we think is the case at
> the time - or, more accurately, what the largest number of the intended
> audience would understand it to mean.

English has a descriptive grammar - usage determines form, as opposed to 
proscriptive grammars, where form dictates usage. Fr'example, there's no 
English equivalent to the Acadamie Francais (sp?), which oversees the
purity of the French vocabulary... I doubt you could put English into BNF, 
and even if you could, by the time you'd finished, the translation would 
be out of date.

Proscriptive grammars are necessary for programming languages, since 
the interpreter/compiler ain't gonna be able to DWYM if it can't pull 
a meaning out of your code. But for *living*, human languages, descriptive 
grammars are A Good Thing. 

And, FWIW, I (born '74) wasn't taught English grammar. French and German,
yes; English, no. We were taught handwriting too, but I got to skip that
and play with the zx81s on account of being 'gifted'...


jon eyre ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) (http://simpson.dyndns.org/~jon/)
sex is like pizza. some freak will always want to ruin it with a pineapple

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