[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: advice for the undergrad

On Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 1:13 PM,  <dinosaur@gilvary.net> wrote:
> After doing software development these past twenty years, I'd like to meet
> someone who can fairly easily learn C++. :)

Okay, fair enough. I might have lowballed those estimates unduly
(although they hold for some programming languages, at least,
especially given prior knowledge of a similar one). Still, I'd like to
see someone with no experience with a related language gain fluency in
a Chinese language (including written Chinese!) more quickly than C++.
(Children don't count, of course.)

I've studied human and programming languages most of my life. I'm
still only really fluent in one human language, but I've completed
projects in BASIC, Pascal, C, C++, Visual Basic, Lingo, PHP,
JavaScript, ActionScript, Java, and probably a dozen others I'm
forgetting. (I even taught Visual Basic *as* I was learning it!)

Also, I think that if programming languages are recognized as a
language, then mathematics *definitely* should count as well. :)

> Learning the rudiments of any language, human or machine, might take only a
> few months. Acquiring fluency (or in machine languages, proficiency) is
> completely another matter. I can say "spacibo" or ask for "dva piva" after
> listening to a CD, but I'm not going to appreciate Pushkin for some time
> yet. The hypothetical Java programmer might understand a looping construct,
> but that's a long way from being able to design and implement a non-trivial
> application.

Well, here we get to the old problem that fluency vs. non-fluency is
not a binary issue. Someone can usually claim fluency in a human
language if they can carry on a meaningful conversation in it and
understand the vast majority of what they hear and read. Being able to
write a best-selling novel in it is not usually a criterion. :)
T. Michael Keesey
Director of Technology
Exopolis, Inc.
2894 Rowena Avenue Ste. B
Los Angeles, California 90039