Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Programmable English

Structure written language like a programming language
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

opinion my.idea(void) { language[programming] = structured; item.relationship.definition((control_logic[statements]= singular)); /* :) */ brackets(extensive); return(1); }

(the previous paragraph was the following in C)

My idea is to have some kind of convention for language that structures it like a programming language is structured. You'd have single statements nested in control logic, that defines the relationship between those statements and what was trying to be said. Also extensive use of brackets to clarify understand.

Of course it would be a little more difficult for people to learn, but there are actual advantages to this crazy notion... I'll leave that to you guys to yap about. Ultimately it would eventually take over the way we think. We think in words now, where millions of years ago we didn't.

I'm not exactly suggesting a universal logic language that all languages can be flawlessly translated into and out of, as thats very baked. I'm suggesting a complete change from linear punctuation to full programming style structure.

Is my half baked (half serious or half crazy?) idea rotten fish?

venomx, May 22 2003

COBOL http://wombat.doc.i...oc/foldoc.cgi?COBOL
"COBOL's natural language style was designed to be self-documenting". [Aristotle]

Perl http://www.wall.org/~larry/natural.html
Natural Language Principles in Perl [Aristotle, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Perl http://www.wall.org/~larry/natural.html
Natural Language Principles in Perl [dijontoothpaste, Oct 05 2004]

Láadan http://members.roge.../kmsperling/laadan/
Not programmable but kind of interesting. [bristolz, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       I really don't mean to be nasty, but I very strongly disagree with this. I love the English language because of its idiosyncrasies, not despite them. Imagine trying to write poetry in programming language? Oh no. Sorry, I have to bone this.
saker, May 22 2003

       Sounds very much like the inspiration behind COBOL [see link].
Aristotle, May 22 2003

       Are we wo/men or machines?
DrCurry, May 22 2003

       This would be fine if language was just about conveying information, but it's not. It's about expression. Communication is at its best not when it's being as specific as possible, but when it's using its ambiguousness to its own advantage, as it does in writing, poetry and - most of all - humour.
dustmonkey, May 22 2003

       // there are actual advantages to this crazy notion... I'll leave that to you guys to yap about. //   

       Well, no. I think you, as the author, should tell us what those are. I can't think of any.
waugsqueke, May 22 2003

       Human languages are like programming languages to the extent that they have syntax - beyond that, very little. Programming languages can only define things and dish out conditional orders, which only works if you're king or a god.
oatcake, May 22 2003

       Croissant - this *is* satire, right? I think it's pretty amusing.   

       Personally, I'm looking forward to being a robot. We can all sit around and listen to Kraftwerk and not have to shave, yay!
snarfyguy, May 22 2003

       VX - I think this idea has the kernel of something very interesting. A discussion of this could be very far ranging. I would be interested to hear some of the advantages. One I can think of would be the creation of a comic book character who speaks only in this language, and only the true devotees who care enough to learn it can follow what he says - sort of like the Trekkies speaking Klingon - except this is english. You will need a cooler name for the language- maybe based on the character. Not [venomx] either - been done!   

       I would also be interested in seeing the Gettysburg Address translated into your new language. If it is too long for you, maybe the beginning of Genesis?
bungston, May 22 2003

       There is a point about spoken languages that you are overlooking - the need for fault tolerance. A computer parsing a chunk of code can simply reject it with an error message if it doesn't understand it.   

       Spoken conversation needs to be understood by individuals often with very different accents and idioms and a lot of background noise, hence the amount of redundancy and repitition in the average sentence.   

       You might make some inroads with the AOL-speak online set, though I kinda doubt it.
DrCurry, May 22 2003

       Forget it.
Vim Spinach, May 22 2003

       10 A$="fishbone"
20 PRINT A$;" ";
30 GOTO 20
Cedar Park, May 23 2003

       Yes satire ... as I can't think of any real advantages except compressing what would otherwise be long winded. For example Cedar Park saved himself typing out fishbone infinity times.   

       As for language loosing expression, any poetry can be commented out. :)   

       <seriousness> bungston is right though there is a shred of something in my satire <thought="random"> it seems its hard to come up with a sufficiently ludicrous idea these days </thought> people are too philosophical). One could devise a enhanced system of punctuation that can enhance meaning. <mainpoint> Perhaps wrap text strings in tags </mainpoint> </seriousness>
venomx, May 23 2003

       This idea attempts to take what is unnatural about programming languages and impose it on human language. Perl is a programming language that attempts to take what is natural about human language and impose it on computers. (I agree with [dustmonkey]: see link, esp. the section "Local ambiguity is okay")   

       So I would dub this idea "Anti-Perl".   

       And I'll give it a croissant because as satire, it's real food for thought.
dijontoothpaste, May 23 2003

       Plus vote: It is possible. Although not fully, but partially. We can create small sentences in English which has meaning and has this standard strcture. Promote the use of the style for standard things just like programming languages. There may be more than one way to do it.
artist, Jul 13 2003

       [venomx] Ironically, your tags are nested wrong.
snarfyguy, Jul 30 2003

       If I'm understanding you, that's what I meant. Technically, that means I was wro... wro... hmm, my keyboard seems to be malfunctioning.
snarfyguy, Jul 31 2003

       // my.idea(void) //
You're right about that.
phundug, Jul 31 2003

       Playing with pet language, just to wrap my head around. 13 sounds. Very very limited grammar/syntax. Pretty much pure math concepts. Anyone in world (caveat) should be able to speak it easily. For int'l science. Was gonna use for VERSE, but lost most of English vocabulary - so went to 26. Why 13/26/etc? - QWERTY. http://www.geocities.com/dinosnider666/VERy_Simple_English.html
dinosnider, Oct 02 2003

       Huh? This is one of THE most ridiculous ideas I have seen on the halfbakery, and that is saying a lot. How are we supposed to read this? I read the poorly-written example and felt like I do when doing logarithms: lethargic, confused, and angry.   

       For the simpler ones: ROTTEN FISH!
dm01, Sep 02 2004

finflazo, Sep 04 2004

       Just had this notion, too. It would be strange to see communication in source code.   

       "Are you going out tonight?" would be very complicated...
Ling, Aug 28 2011

       I like this idea, but   

       //My idea is to have some kind of convention for language that structures it like a programming language is structured.// >>English Compiler v.0.97 build68429: Type Error -00489 detected near token "like" - suggest "as".
pertinax, Aug 28 2011

nineteenthly, Aug 28 2011

       How would you express "meh." ?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 31 2011

       The problem with legislation is that, being written in in human language, it is open to abmiguous interpretation. So bun for potentially a way to express meaning which might have just one computational output.   

       Think about how many cases require careful recheckimg of precedent, combinations of sentencing mandates, prior convictions, etc. If it was all computationally executable, then cases could be determined much faster.
not_only_but_also, Sep 03 2011

       [+] Even though you are having a bit of laugh here - you have hit upon something - I believe (in a round about way) you are describing some aspects of the 'semantic web'. If this language of yours could be (perhaps via an XSLT-type transformation) translated into more standard English it might actually be useful - assuming it had the attribute of having exact meaning ascribed to words and sentences. It could also decoupled from the English language altogether, using different stylesheets to translate into other Human languages...
monojohnny, Sep 03 2011

PROGRAM-DATE. 03:09:11

       that's why.
FlyingToaster, Sep 03 2011


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