Tomorrow I’m going to work on converting Python keywords to Arabic and see if I can get a program to work with Arabic syntax. I’m wondering about how to translate the key words. Do I attempt to convert each keyword into its Arabic equivalent? Or Do transliterate the keywords?
For example the keyword
class, which to further define in English means,
a set or category of things having some property or attribute in common and differentiated from others by kind, type, or quality.
Then the Arabic word for
class based on the aforementioned definition would be
فىة. Pronounced “fe-ah”. But should this be the translation for
class? Is there a more appropriate word? Or do I have the wrong english definition in mind when making this translation? These questions allude to a bigger, more challenging problem. The differences in human languages isn’t just about how we associate semantics with different sounds. Or how sounds are expressed in certain writing schemes/typography. Languages shape how we grasp space, time, casaulity, etc. The structures that exist in languages shape how we construct our reality and understanding of human nature.
With all this in mind, as I go about converting python keywords from English to Arabic, what does this mean in regards to having an “Arabic Programming Language”? In a way, the entirety of Python and/or computing has been developed with an anglo understanding of the world. Would converting Python keywords to Arabic, thereby conveying the anglo world view to the arabic speaking world, amount to a form of colonization?
I remember listening to an interview with Noam Chomsky. The interviewer asks Chomsky to explain how modern linguistics research has uncovered certain misconceptions we have about language. Chomsky answers by saying that, from a linguistics point of view, languages to seem to exist not so that we can communicate with but so that we can build and create. Chomsky adds that research shows that language actually gets in the way of communication rather than being an efficient tool for a such a task .
With Chomsky’s explanation of why natural language exists, could other languages, like Hebrew or Sanskrit, lead to new programming paradigms? I mean, how should a computer or algorithm be expressed in Chinese? Which is really saying, what would math look like if it could have flourished in other cultures?
I think it’s safe to say that this topic is above my pay grade.
For now I’m going to transliterate the python keywords. I’ll feel extremely accomplished if I can get past the imminent unicode and encoding issues that will probably dominate my time spent in this endeavor.