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Issue 031: English Language

Issue 031: English Language

Welcome to the thirty-first issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of the English Language. In this edition, Graham explains the conflicting relationship of programming language designers with English; Adrian dives into the geopolitics of the twentieth century that brought English-sounding programming languages to our computers; and in the Library section, Graham reminisces the legacy and work of Jef Raskin and his opus "The Humane Interface".

The English-Likeness Monster

There is a section in the book AppleScript: the Definitive Guide by Matt Neuburg (Covers Mac OS X Panther!) called "The English-likeness monster". In this section, Neuburg lists various difficulties that arise from AppleScript's superficial resemblance to English.

The Winner Takes It All

You surely heard that old story, where one fish asks another "how is the water today?" and the second replies, "what the hell is water?" Similarly, few of us seem to think about English. It is all around us.

Jef Raskin

It is a fairly well-known, but perhaps not broadly appreciated, fact that Apple's Macintosh could have been a very different computer. Sometimes known as the father of the Mac, sometimes as its eccentric uncle, the project was originally under the direction of computer scientist Jef Raskin. He managed to avoid Steve Jobs's ire for a while by not telling Jobs about the project, but after the Lisa failed and with Woz recovering from a plane crash, Steve needed something to do and checked in on what the former director of the documentation group was up to.

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