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Old 11-22-2012, 07:42 PM   #76
wyndslash
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Originally Posted by jbjb View Post
That was pretty much my response! To clarify, it appeared that they had done some programming courses, but that passing those courses hadn't actually required them to do any programming. Bizarre!



That sounds like a well balanced course to me. Too many (IMHO) CS courses here in the UK focus, when they do any programming, solely on Java. This leaves huge gaps in the understanding of the machine, memory management, cache efficiency etc. These days for fresh graduates we have to recruit entirely on potential and then teach them from scratch.

Engineering courses, particularly Electronic Engineering, do better and generally teach much more useful programming skills than CS courses, in my experience (again, UK-specific).

/JB
that's very, very strange. the CS programs here (Philippines) are chock full of programming classes in different programming languages. We even have specializations here.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
You understand your objective and your tools, you native language is only used to form a plan of attack:

You grasp that you need to get x coordinate.
you also know you need the Left-side one, not the right.
The you use the programing Language, not your native one to accomplish this.

(and I have no clue what you can code I drove a Database with my apps. )
Yes, that's about how I do it. Where I was coming from was that I was thinking that a description of some source code is usually made up of the objective and sometimes the plan of attack, and that not being able to articulate those in some natural language was often a sign that they were not well understood by the coder. But, it seems that some people can actually think in symbols, so I guess I was wrong.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:09 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
Very interesting. I seem to be completely the other way around, in that I find verbalizing the logical statements makes them clearer to me. Okay, I can see now that someone who thinks that way while coding may not find it easy to describe their code using natural language. Thanks.
I'm like you. My pseudocode reads like more like English prose than symbolic logic. I'm kind of impressed by those system and bare-metal types who truly think about thier code in nonverbal ways. I guess that how people come up with those bizzare highly-optimized algorithms and bits of deep-magic.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #79
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I am not a coder, although I am a writer. I first came across a variation on this idea in the late William Tuning's Fuzzy Bones, in which a character blamed an overall decline in society on the movement away from rigorous standards in teaching English, especially grammar.

The gist of his point was that if people think in language, then their language ability places a hard cap on their ability to think. So if language skills map directly to thinking skills, then it would logically follow that a coder with good language skills can code better than they would be able to if their language skills were weaker.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:29 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
I am not a coder, although I am a writer. I first came across a variation on this idea in the late William Tuning's Fuzzy Bones, in which a character blamed an overall decline in society on the movement away from rigorous standards in teaching English, especially grammar.

The gist of his point was that if people think in language, then their language ability places a hard cap on their ability to think. So if language skills map directly to thinking skills, then it would logically follow that a coder with good language skills can code better than they would be able to if their language skills were weaker.
That's pretty much the Saphir-Whorf hypothesis which has been pretty well disproven.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:03 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
That's pretty much the Saphir-Whorf hypothesis which has been pretty well disproven.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity
Rather odd that you should mention Sapir-Whorf. I was just emailing a well-known science fiction writer about that very thing.

To me, the Whorfian hypothesis has always seemed related to the Lacanian idea of deferred action memory. One difference is that Lacan's idea is actually correct: He rightly identifies memories which are seemingly impossible to locate until some other cluster of memories makes the missing ones suddenly available (this can be as true in historical writing and literary criticism as it is in psychology and linguistics). Whereas S-W is disproved every time someone correctly identifies and describes a thing for which they had had no specific word.

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Wow!
If you have ever walked the halls at M$ in Mountain View, you would hear languages and accents from all over the world (+ advanced geek ). String an 'English' sentence together might be hard for some.
Whatever you might think of Meisler's syntax in expository writing = coding thesis, it's unfair to refute an argument he's not actually making. Meisler hasn't ever advanced the depressing and xenophobic idea that English is the only language in which a logical person may express ideas gracefully -- if he had, I wouldn't have linked to him.

In terms of your example of multilingual coders with special difficulties in English, Meisler is arguing that, for example, an English-challenged Russian or Indonesian coder might be a perfectly graceful writer in their native language and that that is what matters. No one should presume that English is normative and the only logical language (particularly when it's far less logical than many others -- French, Italian, Romanian, etc.). Meisler's point is that being able to write and think well in at least one language is mandatory, not that the language in which one thinks need be his alone.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 11-30-2012 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:24 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Prestidigitweeze View Post
Whatever you might think of Meisler's syntax in expository writing = coding thesis, it's unfair to refute an argument he's not actually making. Meisler hasn't ever advanced the depressing and xenophobic idea that English is the only language in which a logical person may express ideas gracefully -- if he had, I wouldn't have linked to him.

In terms of your example of multilingual coders with special difficulties in English, Meisler is arguing that, for example, an English-challenged Russian or Indonesian coder might be a perfectly graceful writer in their native language and that that is what matters. No one should presume that English is normative and the only logical language (particularly when it's far less logical than many others -- French, Italian, Romanian, etc.). Meisler's point is that being able to write and think well in at least one language is mandatory, not that the language in which one thinks need be his alone.
I think you're accusing theducks of an argument that he/she was mistakenly accusing me of making. Whereas, I was clumsily trying to make pretty much the same argument that you gave above. We all seem to be in violent agreement (unless I'm completing the circle by misunderstanding you ).
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