Maintaining the Fluency of Programming Languages with English as Lingua Franca
Maybe the most frequently used foreign language in the world is English. The statistics show that, out of 7.63 billion people in the world, 1.5 million people use English and 360 million people are native English speakers. Not only has English become the official language in the worlds’ leading countries, but also it has been implemented as the main means of communication between foreigners and foreign students who study abroad. In terms of human languages, English has the status of Lingua Franca, a language that opens most doors anywhere in the world and which helps you get in touch with local citizens. How is that related to the status of English as Lingua Franca of programming?
Let’s start with historical facts.
The concept of digital programmable computers originated in England in the early 19th century. Charles Babbage, a famous philosopher, mathematician, and inventor created the first mechanical computer. As time went by, he advanced his machine and his computer managed to fulfil more complex tasks which provoked the design of other electronic devices, which set a cornerstone for today’s technology. Also, the first programmer to be known as Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Noel Byron. Ada was a brilliant mathematician and went ahead of her time, investing all her beliefs in the first machine computer and its advantages. She created the first algorithms which would use the data input and do the calculation on the computer. In other words, Ada happened to create the first computer program. These two historical figures are the first ones to be responsible for opening the opportunity for English to become Lingua Franca of programming.
Generally, the majority of programmers are based in the US
Taking the present circumstances into consideration, a substantial percentage of programmers are based in the US, about 4.5 million of them. This number makes the US a country with the greatest number of programmers in the world. Most of them dwell in Silicon Valley. India is the second country known for having the greatest number of programmers, and by 2023 it will come in first place. These are the countries where English is the official language, and this is yet another argument of why English has Lingua Franca status in programming. Moreover, the US is the country that invests in new technology to the largest extent when compared to other countries, and its digital companies are spreading all around the world. Nevertheless, China has been experiencing rapid growth in advanced technology and there is a chance that the Chinese language will overtake the status of Lingua Franca.
The majority of codes were created by English-speaking programmers!
Finally, if we take into account all the above-mentioned facts, most recent codes are invented by English-speaking programmers. Although keywords, comments, variables, and methods are not necessarily always written in English, the general attitude of software developers is that English keywords keep the programming language abstracted from human language, and keep the coding away from any confusion. If programmers switch often to other languages in programming, it would make their job even more complex and there will be a lot of misunderstanding.