Subject: Re: PART TWO: winning industrial-use of lisp:  Re: Norvig's latest paper on Lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 16:37:17 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Barry Fishman
| I find this concept quite alien.  Can people not speak the language they
| speak?

  There are two meanings to "your own language" -- it is whatever you manage to
  produce of sounds and lines, and it is the common language of the community
  in which you live.  Some people never acquire a feel for the spelling of
  their language, meaning that they have their own _personal_ language, but
  could not be said to write in the language that people usually think of for
  their region.

  I wonder how it is possible _not_ to see that there were several ways to
  interpret what I said (as there always are with all communication) and/or you
  had to choose one that was so silly.  Is there no "reasonability test" for
  what you conclude that other people might have meant?  Do people generally
  think "this does not compute.  what would it mean if I had said exactly the
  same words", or do they "I would not have said that.  what is the most likely
  thing that I would have meant that could have been expressed this way?".  The
  whole point of standardized grammar, dictionaries, etc, is to reduce the need
  for the random guesswork and unfounded assumptions that go into interpreting
  what other people would have meant.  It gives people a legitimate reason to
  say "this does not compute, can you try again?" instead of trying to piece
  together what someone _could_ have meant.  Personally, I find that a lot of
  people who think very little when they read generally do not get what I say
  at all, but that those who do think, or even go back and look, find that I
  have been precise and accurate and not at all difficult to read.  This tells
  me that I am writing for an audience that is not used to half-listen to what
  they hear, but of actually paying attention.  I do not consider this bad, so
  I have no reason to try to adapt to the redundancy of half-attentioners or
  the low-impact communication of anything so that only very little effort is
  required to suck up the small amounts of ideas involved.  Except for a few
  areas, such a my constantly being badgered by morons who neither read nor
  think about what I write before they attack me with their primitive brains, I
  try not to repeat myself or say something everybody already agree to.  Some
  people, however, require a constant flow of repetitive reaffirmations of
  their beliefs and consider lack of such reaffirmation to be hostility towards
  their consensus-based mode of thinking.  Then I wonder why such people read
  USENET, where "me too" is explicitly disallowed and seriously frowned upon.
  Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be
  specific and do not put "business proposal" in the Subject header.  If it is
  urgent, do not use the word "urgent".  If you need an immediate answer, give
  me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention".  Thank you.