Jan 10, 01:31 AM

have just started with the second term of my Master’s degree and am taking two very interesting subjects this term: Advanced Programming Languages and Natural Language Processing. I’ve decided to document some of my thoughts over here. Many of these will be immature, and some will be downright wrong; they will hopefully be invalidated as I develop a deeper understanding of both the fields.

Programming Languages are understood by compilers and interpreters. Let’s for a moment call them Programming Language Processors(PLP’s). At the core of this “understanding” lies the idea of Context Free Grammars, that is, the idea that analysis of a construct does not depend on the part of the program already read. This is something that guides a programmer implicitly as he writes programs.

Natural Languages, like English, on the other hand, have Context Sensitive grammars, so the analysis of constructs depend on the part of the text already read. We, who read these natural languages, are sort of Natural Language Processors(NLP’s). When I am writing a piece of prose, such as this, I assume every sentence I write will be understood in the context of what I’d written earlier.

Thus, there is a significant difference in the state of mind when one is writing in a programming language as opposed to in a natural language. The question now is this: how interesting would it be to devise programming language that are context sensitive in some ways? Would it allow us to express certain ideas in a better way?

Rahul Jha




  1. Just a test comment

    — Testing guy · Feb 6, 12:37 AM · #

  2. It might be interesting to come across a nice turn of phrase, say an unexpected FOR loop, and say, “Gee! that was witty”

    Deepak · Mar 8, 02:51 AM · #

  3. Hehe, yup!

    Rahul Jha · Mar 8, 02:32 PM · #

  4. Interesting thought. How would such a language be taught? I think this would indeed open up the possibility for more “organic” programs that could function far differently than existing ones; but could you teach a context-sensitive language with a textbook?

    Jake Schwartz · Apr 24, 05:04 AM · #

  5. As for me I am sure that both things are very much good and important! Thanks a lot for sharing this idea here and I will use some facts in my dissertation online

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  6. Being a linguist this topic is very appealing to me. I think that these two subjects are perfect to enlarge your knowledge on the subject of linguistics.

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