[erlang-questions] A proposal for Unicode variable and atom names in Erlang.

Michael Turner <>
Tue Oct 23 07:37:02 CEST 2012

I found Michael Richter's reply even more amusing than the David
Mercer e-mail. Especially when imagining that David's out-of-context
comments should be taken seriously, in which case I'm whole-heartedly
with Michael Richter. Now hear this: I *violently* agree with you
*both*. Take that! (Michael, did David not preface an entire following
paragraph with "seriously, though"? Only to make yet another joke?)

You two are reminding me of me.

I'm familiar with the feeling that David reports: there's only enough
room in my head for one foreign language. I go back to California on
visits sometimes and often find myself speaking to someone over a
counter who doesn't seem to understand my English very well. Rather
than switch to the most likely language (Spanish, which I never really
learned to speak even after years of public school instruction), I
involuntarily start babbling in Japanese. This has left quite a few
Mexican, Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadoran restaurant staff slightly
befuddled. I usually catch myself when I realize that "taco" doesn't
usually mean "taco" in Japanese, but rather "octopus".


On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM, Michael Richter <> wrote:
> On 22 October 2012 23:46, David Mercer <> wrote:
>> From personal experience, I cannot imagine a language superior to English.
> What.  A.  Bunch.  Of.  Pure.  Twaddle.
> I can't even imagine the mentality it would take to hold that view while
> working in a field whose foundation is formal logic and maths.  (Or has
> "proof by lack of imagination" reached beyond its roots as a logical fallacy
> somewhere?)
> And to hold English, of all languages, up as the ultimate in superior
> languages goes far beyond ignorance and far beyond arrogance.
>> I took French for 7 years and still can't speak a lick of it.  Then I
>> tried my hand at Mandarin, and the result was a mixture of French and
>> Mandarin, since my brain has room in it for only two languages: English and
>> "Other".  Now someone wants to throw Hungarian comments into the mix?  My
>> brain is about to explode...
> So your mental limitations are grounds to do everything in your language.
> Got it.  (You do realize that retarded people—and I mean clinically retarded
> here, not Internet retarded—in multilingual environments can speak more than
> one language, right?)
> There's something verging on the sociopathic here.  "I can't learn other
> languages.  It's too hard for my brain.  So I think the 6.5 billion other
> people whose first language isn't English should be the ones who learn
> another language."  Your lack of empathy given your own experiences in
> learning a foreign language is simply astonishing to the point of being
> pathological.  Seriously, dude, look at what you've said above and ask
> yourself why it is that it's OK for you to force others to learn your
> language when you've just acknowledged how hard it is to learn a foreign
> language!
> --
> "Perhaps people don't believe this, but throughout all of the discussions of
> entering China our focus has really been what's best for the Chinese people.
> It's not been about our revenue or profit or whatnot."
> --Sergey Brin, demonstrating the emptiness of the "don't be evil" mantra.
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