Saturday, September 15, 2012

LEARNING A NEW PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE; DOES IT HAVE THE SAME ONE-TO-ONE MAPPING AS LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE?


I was reading a blog article recently, (forgotten the link), and a Manager remarked that soon most employees would have to learn reading code without even knowing how to program. It isn't a prophetic remark; I have seen that coming. I remember, years ago in secondary school, when we were taught Business courses, even if we intended taking science courses.

I was walking to the market when I overheard some conversation, in French, between two immigrants who came to work in Lagos. While English is the official language in Nigeria , where they were coming from, most probably Benin Republic or Togo, French is the official language.

Before the coming of our colonial masters, English or French were languages no one had ever heard of. Today, more than 80% of every African living in any country can speak these languages and some can write very well in it.

Professor Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate.

At the 60's, just when Nigeria became Independent, how many persons can boast of being able to speak The Queen's English? Mastering how to write in it was another Tale of two Cities . Today, after about three generations, Nigerians have won prizes for writing the English Language, even the highest of them all, the Noble Prize in Literature won by Wole Soyinka .

How does it work? Granted, education is at work, and so is acculturation, experience and I believe inheritance.

Would it work the same way with Programming languages?

I really didn't know if it would work the same way with programming languages. There is no one-to-one mapping between both fields, but they both serve as media for communication and soonest, I believe, there should be at least a smart phone that has as much power as a computer, if not a PC, in most homes in Nigeria. Would this have a pulling effect in making us learn programming languages as a medium of communication?

I know that it would involve much education, acculturation, experience and also, inheritance; but the basic problem is, do we take programming languages to be as important as foreign languages that they have to be learned?

I doubt so. Then, do we have to continue importing (or maybe downloading) most of the software we use, software which might not be fitted for our culture and educational needs?

Only time will tell.


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