One thing that I find, quite honestly a little infuriating, is that most programming languages have different vocabularies for the grammatical structures within their language. Of course they have different terms for the different grammatical structures, it’s that many of these grammatical structures continue from language to language, yet are named differently.

Within spoken language, linguists have created a basic terminology one can use to reference similarly acting ideas that exist within all languages. Within programming languages, the differences are small and yet the builders of these languages feel it necessary to continue to reference things differently, which only adds to the confusion of the learning programmer.

There is, what those in computer science will call data structures, which provides a basic terminology similar to the noun, verb, adverbiness of linguistics. For example, objects in javascript are very similar to dictionaries or lists in python are called hash tables within the basic terminology of data structures.

I guess, as a part-time translator, I’m looking for something that will allow me to use a generic term that I know (noun, adverb), and be able to more easily understand what’s going on in the language I’m learning. However it seems that most online learning resources teach you in the terms of the programming language, not the general terminologies of data structures.

I would suspect that this difference has more to do with the age of most programming languages versus spoken languages. Dictionaries for spoken languages became in vogue back in the mid 1800’s. Considering the lifespan of spoken languages, I guess it’s okay for programming languages to be not quite there yet. This is, as well, all dependent upon your defining programming languages and spoken languages to be similar enough to warrant the same kind of organization of terminology.

Which begs the question, why are programming languages defined using the term ‘language’? What are the differences between a spoken and programming language? This brings me to an interesting blog entry I found when looking up that very idea, called A Brief Study: Spoken and Programming Languages