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

Michael Richter <>
Tue Oct 23 10:30:31 CEST 2012

On 23 October 2012 16:25, Benoit Chesneau <> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:22 AM, Michael Richter <>
> wrote:
> > On 23 October 2012 16:20, Michael Richter <> wrote:
> >>
> >> On 23 October 2012 13:38, Benoit Chesneau <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Now imagine if all maths where localized...
> >>
> >>
> >> They are.  The notation used by my students in their maths books is
> >> completely different in many key areas from the notation I used in high
> >> school and university to the point that I can't read them.
> >>
> >> Oddly enough the world of maths hasn't exploded at the seams.

> > Note, too, that the words between the actual maths symbols which remain
> the
> > same aren't in English, so even if the maths notation was completely,
> > absolutely, 100% the same, the explanatory prose in between would still
> be
> > unreadable to an English reader.  So, too, are the variables often in
> Hanzi
> > instead of the Latin or Greek alphabets.

> Maybe chinese use hanzi, but how do they call whith others around the
> world when it's about sharing their work or collaborate globally ?
> They come back to the common syntax.

First, they don't publish everything they write in international journals.
You know, just like … well, everybody.

Second, they translate at need, often through professional translators or,
at the very least, they translate into (very rough) English themselves and
then pass that on for editing to a native speaker.  (Evidence: that's my
side business.  I edit translated scientific papers for journal

> I find it rather costly to say less to do the work twice just because
> at first you are using a syntax only used in your part of the world
> even if it's about some billions people.

You know what's even more expensive?  Having to do all of your work in a
language you don't have a firm grasp on.  Having to slow down your thinking
to speak in L2 instead of going full-tilt in L1.  Having to bend to the
will of a linguistic minority to do your work *even if that linguistic
minority will never see your work*.

I ask again: how can so many smart people be so fucking dumb on this point?

"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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