Re: localization, internationalization and Caml

From: Benoit Deboursetty (
Date: Sat Oct 23 1999 - 11:53:25 MET DST

Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 11:53:25 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Benoit Deboursetty <>
Subject: Re: localization, internationalization and Caml
In-Reply-To: <>

This message just wants to raise a paradoxical point in this discussion
[yet it may have already been posted ?]. It seems to me that allowing
foreign characters to be used in a computer language, as identifiers or
comments, would reduce the exchange of contributions worldwide.

Here is my personal experience: i have used caml and ocaml for more than 2
years now. From the beginning, it seemed to me really cool to be able to
have identifiers in French, with accents and everything. So i took the
habit of using French in my programs.

Now, i'm writing a more consequent program, which could become a small
intl "open project". *Except* that i find myself with a program in French,
and that it's not so easy to find qualified programming partners who
understand French. The range of people who could help with my program is
terribly limited.

You should understand i sometimes feel i should have written it in

I must however acknowledge that [o']caml 's ability to cope with latin1
characters is above all useful for educational purpose. Let me explain...
Perhaps is it a French thing, but in this country it sounds quite snobbish
for a French to embed English words in a sentence with the right accent +
stress. Hence, almost every computer science teacher takes an exaggerated
French accent to pronounce English words ("la fonction 'rimouve'"). [I
shall not disclose the names of my teachers in CaML :) ]

So, for educational purposes, it is much better if the teachers can have
French identifiers ("la fonction 'enlève'"). Much easier to pronounce,
isn't it? I suppose it is the same for many other countries. (i think
especially of japan "biko-zu ingurisshu izu ha-do tsu puronaonsu foa
japani-zu pi-poru tsu-")

My point remains: encouraging people to write code in their language would
reduce the possiblities of exchanging their work. This does not mean,
though, that i will translate the program i've written into english. I
consider it is a sort of tribute to the preservation of the diversity of
languages, at my most humblest scale... and i will write enough programs
in English when i work for a company, too.

Beno=EEt de Boursetty

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