Which programming language does every programmer know

Programming is for everyone - but only if you speak English

The Tiobe Index lists the most popular programming languages ​​in the world. The ranking is currently topped by Java, followed by C, C ++, Python and Visual Basic .NET. They have one important thing in common. Your commands are all derived from the English language, starting with the simple "Print" command for the output of text on the screen.

A standard that is taken for granted by many. But the strong focus on English is actually a problem, criticizes linguist Gretchen McCulloch at Wired. She advocates that programming languages ​​become multilingual.

Denied opportunities

Because writing code is generally considered an important skill in the information age. Numerous companies are desperately looking for specialists in software development. Schools and other educational institutions are now responding to this.

Programming is something for everyone, is the motto. But that is precisely not the case, says McCulloch. Billions of people are being deprived of important future opportunities, solely because they cannot speak any or only rudimentary English. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Hardly any multilingual programming languages

Because it is actually easy to translate a programming language. For the computer it is irrelevant whether a loop is started with the term "While", or this is replaced with a German term or even emoji. The result is the same, as evidenced by all sorts of "esoteric" programming languages ​​that rely on the word Pikachu, for example.

But while there are numerous tools for translating code from one programming language to another, there are virtually no major programming languages ​​that offer instruction sets outside of English. Even widely spoken languages ​​such as Mandarin or Spanish hardly find any resonance.

Exception Wikipedia

There are of course individual projects. There is a Chinese variant of Python, as well as languages ​​that can be programmed in Arabic, Farsi or Hindi, but are only used by a minority. What remains, however, is that even popular programming languages ​​that did not originate in the English-speaking world - such as Python, Ruby and Lua - officially only understand English.

The Wikipedia scripting language is one of the few significant deviations. If you immortalize things like the name, place of birth and other information there for the entry about a known person, you can define the corresponding boxes not only in English.

The English dominance favors those who are lucky enough to either grow up in the Anglo-American language area or to have the language taught at an early age through parents or the educational system. However, this is not the case, especially for many new Internet users from so-called emerging countries. And even HTML, the scripting language that is of fundamental importance for the Internet, relies exclusively on English commands.

Improvement possible

Still, McCulloch hopes that the situation will improve. Because the current situation is roughly comparable to Europe in the Middle Ages. Different languages ​​were spoken, but the written word was almost exclusively reserved for Latin. However, the technique of writing is not exclusively tied to one language. The decline of Rome, increasing loss of power for the church and other developments led to the fact that this standard was questioned and other languages ​​were also increasingly established in written form.

Such a development is also conceivable for programming languages, but it is also necessary to name the current standard as such in order to be able to reflect it. Perhaps in the future websites can also be written in Russian or Swahili HTML and people can learn to program without others being ahead of them through an undeserved advantage. (red, 04/12/2019)