Computers are programmed in English.

In coming articles, I’ll tell you about my experiences with starting to view programs as literal English, instead of the “programming languages” that I’ve been told they are. I only began this process this week, but it’s already yielding some profound clarity. I’m finding it intriguing both how closely code maps to English, and how nobody either seems to find it important enough to talk about, or knows about it at all.

To be clear, I don’t mean that no programs are written in something that is not English. I’m saying that programming in English does happen. I’m also under the impression that the vast majority of programs are written in English, even if they are frequently grammatically irredeemable, or semantically nonsensical.

I have a feeling that some of you are going to educate me about “English” not being the right term for what I’m talking about. The problem is, I don’t know any other spoken languages nearly as well, so I don’t feel comfortable talking about their grammatical structure, which is the real key to all of this. And, because you can expect the code in this series to generally be in Swift or C#, which have English-or-close-enough-to-be keywords, English is the term I’ll use for now.

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