An important question to ask here is 'what do we mean by English-like'?

I'd suggest that the language doesn't matter - so 'natural language like' would 
perhaps be a better term but even then is that really what we mean?

There's no inherent difference (formally at least) between a programming 
language and a natural language - at least from the way they are written 
(letters, punctuation, grammar, vocabulary) and perhaps not even in terms of 
interpretation (what a phrase in a language means - they are either 
declarations/definition of things, providing context or instructing actions).

The difference comes at the point we consider the 'machine' which the language 
is instructing - human or computer.

>From this (very narrow) point of view, human machines (the brain) are perhaps 
>just a great deal better 'engineered' to process language quickly and have a 
>much greater capacity for storing, recalling and processing contextual 
>information which means ambiguities can be resolved with a much greater degree 
>of precision and fault tolerance.

So we are perhaps talking about constructing language(s) which allows a 
computer to be instructed more like we would a human - i.e. not having to 
define every single thing in mind numbing detail, knowing that the receiver has 
enough competence and knowledge to infer and fill in the gaps correctly and 
then carrying out those actions with a high degree of accuracy (although 
computers are probably already better for accuracy in many domains - they just 
need their hand held throughout!) or at least have the ability to shout when 
things really don't 'compute'. In this vein I'm not sure syntax is so important.

I don't think the experiment as you put it has yet ended - computers and their 
software development have just not caught up yet which is, in part, probably at 
least related to performance of computer machines for these kinds of tasks.

Warmest Regards,


Sent from my iPhone

> On 30 Mar 2018, at 15:35, Bob Sneidar via use-livecode 
> <> wrote:
> I agree. The goal was to make computing as english like as possible, but the 
> take away to that great experiment is that one can only go so far. People 
> interpret what a person may mean. Computers do not have that luxury. Still 
> xTalk is a magnificient accomplishment. 
> Bob S
>> On Mar 29, 2018, at 21:34 , Mike Kerner via use-livecode 
>> <> wrote:
>> I agree that unquoted literals are not ideal.  I think they should be
>> deprecated, and I think they should have been removed in 1986, so add that
>> to the LC10 list.  They have always made reading scripts more difficult.
>> Readability and approachability are two things that have set xtalk apart.
>> Unquoted literals detract from that.
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