Tag Archives: language

natural and artificial languages, and scripts and gestures

Is classical Chinese a natural language? Artificial language?

According to Wikipedia (our most reliable source, “naturally”), a natural language is “unpremeditated” when it is used. When someone is truly fluent in classical Chinese, what happens in their brains? Do they conceptualize poems in spoken language as a mediation layer and then “translate” it into classical Chinese/literary Sinitic, or do they think in that layer directly?

If they do think in it, is that enough to make it a natural language?

How about coding? Is pseudocode natural language (or, shorthand for a natural language), whereas programming languages are artificial? Does anyone think in Python, for example, or is it always mediated by a natural language (or pseudocode, or NL-then-pseudocode) stage beforehand?

What might edge cases teach us, such as sign language — never a spoken language, always spoken physically. What is writing or typing, if not a physical gesture? Sign language looks a lot like a “script” in how it functions, but it’s considered separate from it. There are also different “dialects” and it’s a “script” in the sense that it’s rendering a specific language. How about musical thoughts — are these thoughts the same as “linguistic” thoughts? How about thinking with one’s hands, such as not just someone using sign language does but also master craftsmen/women who have “unmediated” gestures? But they are not necessarily communicating that way, which is what language does.

Where is the line between script and artificial language?

Just some unmediated thoughts from our OPEN LAB today while going through Natural Language Processing With Python!