On 10/8/07, Morton Goldberg <m_goldberg / ameritech.net> wrote:
> On Oct 8, 2007, at 5:44 PM, Chad Perrin wrote:
>
> > I'm curious -- exactly what class of syntactic element is `=` in Ruby,
> > where "class of syntactic element" is roughly analogous to "part of
> > speech".  If objects are nouns and methods are verbs, that means
> > `=` is
> > neither a noun nor a verb.  Is it a participle?  Is it
> > punctuation?  If
> > it's a participle, I'd like to know what class of syntactic element
> > that
> > is in Ruby.  If it's punctuation, I'd like some explanation for how
> > that
> > works conceptually -- because I think of punctuation in Ruby as being
> > stuff like the parentheses around a method argument.
> >
> > Anyone?  Bueller?
>
> I think it might be consider a copula. See <http://en.wikipedia.org/
> wiki/Copula>.
>
> Regards, Morton

I agree with Morton a little here, since "a = b" doesn't necessarily
mean "a is b".

I suppose it's all about how far you want to take it conceptually.
Like, for example, in my head I see "a = b" as "a tries to put on b's
shoes", or to make it more short, something like, "b marries a".

In another language, that might sound more like "b, a, they become
together for a while".

For all simplicity, though, I guess the copula term could best
describe it for the English language.

Not a straight answer, but, there you go.

class C
  def []= something
    puts "hello"
  end
end

b = C.new[] = "hola"

The semantics break down when you look at a single symbol (in this
case, '=') and try to replace it with a word (be it verb, transitive,
cupola or otherwise).

I don't know your use case, but I think it's impossible to translate a
programming language into a spoken one.  I would be fascinated if you
could prove me wrong though.

Todd