[SIGCIS-Members] English commands and keywords in programming

Eji Layo ejilayomi at gmail.com
Fri Aug 2 20:19:52 PDT 2019

I've been curious about a particular question for sometime. After reading
the works of various authours in the history of computing field, I directed
my questions to the authours. I was then made aware of the SIGCIS. To the

How did the English language become the "default" language for computer
programming. Why do Python, C, C++, ALGOL, Java, COBOL etc. borrow their
natural language commands from English? I am especially curious about the
way this came about after the Second World War. The era of the
cold-war seems to have presented an opportunity for states like the
USSR, East/West Germany and the Scandinavian countries to benefit from
pushing an international (or national) language for programming.I am
curious to know what members of this group think of this question?

Some further questions include - Why did ALGOL's implementation (despite
its 3 levels of description) not accommodate the diversity of linguistic
representation of those who subsequently participated in developing it? I
am curious to know if IBM's SHARE user group's hesitation to ALGOL may have
resulted in how it was received globally. I imagine that standards (or
practices) also played a part in this process and I wonder how that may
have occurred? Finally Grace Hopper's speech in Wexelblat's ACM's History
of Programming Languages, implied that COBOL's success came from work she
did showing that an interpreter could help in compiling the multi-lingual
expressions of the same commands. Again why did this not become the reality
of contemporary "mainstream" programming? Any clues would be helpful. Thank


Eji Mimiko.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20190802/aadd2e25/attachment.htm>

More information about the Members mailing list