[techtalk] This talk of N-ary trees and other things...

Maria G Martinez sultanita at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 25 18:08:46 EST 2001

> Speaking of which, I wonder if anyone has any
> thoughts on how 
> learning human languages, or the ability to,
> translates to the 
> ability to learn programming languages, or vice
> versa? Both my 
> husband and I are multilingual and we often talk
> about how learning 
> languages kind of helps us to get a "programmer
> head", if that makes sense.

I am multilingual, and even though I haven´t learned
any formal programming language yet, I can see how it
can help.  I don´t think being multilingual is the
helpful thing here, but knowing grammar.  Basically,
knowing the grammar of any language, and being able to
understand why a comma can make a difference in a
sentence, or why a letter can change the meaning of
the whole word and/or sentence, will help understand
why a line of code has to be written in a certain,
specific way.

I have been an English as a Second Language teacher
and an English tutor for a while, and I have come up
with certain analogies between writing an essay and
coding a program.

For example, the steps to code a program (according to
my flowcharting class):
1.  Define the problem.
2.  Plan the solution (flowchart, pseudocode).
3.  Code the program (according to the planned
4.  Test the program and debug.
5.  Document the program.

Now, the steps to write an essay:
1.  Define the topic (choose what you're going to
write about).
2.  Define how the essay will be written (outline the
essay, freewrite, brainstorm).
3.  Write the essay (according to the outline).
4.  Check for consistency and correct mistakes.
5.  This step is a bit different... in case it was a
research essay, documenting it would be to do the
works cited.  In case it was an essay that was written
out of the blue, I haven´t come up with a nice
analogy...  (but you hopefully get the idea).

Another intersting bit of information about this is
how 'hack' once a long time ago meant to write an
essay, article, or book in a fast way, not necessarily
a good one (usually to solve the problem of not having
any money)... and how 'hack' now evolved to 'write
code in a fast way.' (usually to solve a a problem in
a system).  Of course, the meaning nowadays is now
wider than just that.  But I thought I would share. :)


Do You Yahoo!?
Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail. 

More information about the Techtalk mailing list