Coding: What if you don’t know English?

So I’ve been working on a little project recently. I’m creating an introductory Python course based on the Foundations of Python Programming from Runestone Academy, but modifying it for high school students whose primary language isn’t English.

As I ran a pilot of the course, I realised that my test pupil is somewhat disadvantaged. She knows English, but it isn’t her first language. I began to wish I could present her with a programming language whose tokens look like those from her first language. How much easier it would be for her to learn to code!

And then I realised how biased the world of programming is towards English.

The article “Coding Is for Everyone—as Long as You Speak English” by Gretchen McCulloch on mirrors my frustrations.

Me and my soapbox

There needs to be a shift. I wonder what it might look like for this shift to be implemented. It might need a completely new tool we haven’t dreamed of yet. Or something we already have that can be repurposed.

Perhaps something akin to natural language processing that can translate source code into language tokens that align with different natural languages?

That article again from is “Coding Is for Everyone—as Long as You Speak English.” Have a read and let me know your thoughts!

5 thoughts on “Coding: What if you don’t know English?

  1. I live in America, where the Democratic party owns all women ‘n American blacks, and they will go after any of their chattel that escapes or disobeys. This same Democratic party wants to also own all of America’s children, so that these prepubescence children can be taught how to change their biological sex, how to have sex, that white children are born racists, etc. The Democratic party invented “WOKE.” In America, we get 24/7 “WOKE” sessions that never end. 🤢

    Thusly…I have avoided your ‘Coding: What if you don’t know English?‘ excellent topic until now because I go blank when anything might suggest that something “WOKE” is headed my way. 😉 “WOKE” advocates tell me that English is bad for all, and that white men like me should be forced to wear armbands that state “I am a Racist.”

    I knew absolutely nothing about “Coding” until you taught me it was in English. Also just found out that “Ada Lovelace has been called the world’s first computer programmer,” and immediately ran another search to see if programming ‘n “Coding” are the same. Apparently they are “altogether different from each other.” However, the Google searches for both terms come back wid Ada Lovelace, who died in 1852, and was English. I hope America’s “WOKE” advocates don’t find out where she is buried (!?!?!?!) ‘n attempt to destroy her grave…or worse!?!

    Anyway, the topic is obviously too advanced for humble me…and, BTW, *LOVE* that Red Bow!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Karmi, I’m glad my post was thought-provoking! I don’t live in the USA and haven’t ever visited (it’s on my bucket list!). Therefore I can’t speak into the complexities of the socio-political environment you are in.

      Wishing you all the best as you find out more about the history of ‘coding’ and ‘programming’ – and glad you like the red bow! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

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