Phil Staiger, who talks about Tips and Techniques with Project Dogwaffle
, can speak (as I recall) at least six languages. Working for an American company (Megatek) out of San Diego, his role as roving technical expert had taken him all over the world, and had him talking with people from many countries. I recall a great admiration when, across in California to learn the technical stuff company's graphics products and libraries so that I could take over the European support, I watched him switch from Spanish to English to French in successive sentences. I really wondered how he did it and
all the technical stuff too.
I understand English (and write it only up to the standard you'll find in these jottings), and I have a smattering of French. I always struggled with Latin at school until allowed to drop it, after which the struggle ceased. I did no more than wonder about learning Swedish at one point. The motivation, incredibly, was a work role and not a blonde, but that is a story for another day.
Any yet I find myself programming and switching - "á la philip" - from Perl
, then a bit of Tcl
and some C
before doing a bit of awk
and perhaps ruby.
. Looking at Philip's web site and links, I see he's talking Lua with Dogwaffle
and, sure, I can do the Lua thing
too. So - somehow - I'm on the other side of the fence with this switching capability that baffles others and people ask "how do you do it".
I'm afraid the answer is a very simple one.
All programming languages are based on the same underlying concepts. For sure, they're all implemented differently, but you've still got variables, and blocks, and conditionals and sequences of statements. Named pieces of code, loops, and some sort of collections. An ability to load more bits of code, shared between programs, from common files. A way to add comments to your code, and ways to read information in and write it back out. I'm suggesting that you could say there is really only one language - it's just implemented with a different set of grammars, and basic elements that are tuned very differently ... thus giving rise to languages which are strong in one area or another, and providing foundations on which you can ideally build one type of application or another.
You see ... really ... I still just know one language. It's the language of programming. Now Phil - he's clever - he knows the language of speech in depth too. (written 2009-01-12, updated 2009-01-13)
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