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On Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 11:59:42PM +0900, Kevin wrote:
> @Phillip: Yes they are applicable, jargon does not supersede the rest
> of the language.  Especially not when the subject being discussed (In
> part) whether or not Excel can be considered a programming language is
> answered by those definitions.  Why do you think that the word language
> is even a part of the phrase "programming language"?  It is because of
> the way the word language could be and is used by people who are not a
> part of this field.  It was not in any way random that such a phrase
> came to describe tools like Ruby, or C++.

Well, in that case, you are no longer allowed to use "programming
language" to specifically mean languages used to program a computer.
When you say "programming", it must also include television programming,
making lists of things to buy from the store, the services provided by a
given company or person, syllabi and curricula in higher education,
sports activities at high schools, systems of co-operation to provide
opportunities for people embarking on new endeavors, skills and
behavioral training, and sheet music.

No no no . . . that's not how it works.  How it actually works is that,
for a given *context*, the definition that is most particular to that
context supersedes those that are not particular to that context,
especially if those definitions that are not particular to that context
are particular to *other* contexts.  Otherwise, when scientists use
"validate" to refer to checking the applicability of facts and "verify"
to refer to checking the systematic rigor of the methodology for working
with those facts, their usages would be superseded by the more general
formalisms that imply meaning that is roughly the reverse of that usage.

Specificity of meaning overriding more general meanings is the whole
reason we have jargon.  Telling us that jargon takes a back seat to
general terms of natural language at all times is akin to telling us that
we cannot use programming languages at all, and have to simply speak to
computers in plain English -- which would be disastrous, given that the
computer wouldn't know what the fuck to do with "Show me my list of stuff
I want to do."

Programming languages are, in a manner of speaking, highly formalized
jargons.  I guess that means I'm not allowed to use "print" to mean
something specific, though, because if someone else wants to use "print"
to refer to a flower pattern on a dress, that supersedes my use of
"print" when writing Perl code.

-- 
Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

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