[Haskell-beginners] How do you pronounce these operators?

Joel Neely joel.neely at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 12:14:28 UTC 2014

As somewhat of an outsider (background in Math, working in the software
field), I find this topic a fascinating illustration of differences in

Math (inclusive of statistics and theoretical physics) and computing
(inclusive of IT and applications programming) seem to be two of the fields
that have the greatest need for constant definition of new terms,
frequently on-the-fly in support of a larger goal. (I'm excluding the
legal, political, and marketing fields, for reasons best explained by Edwin
Newman in _Strictly_Speaking_.)

The mathematical approach optimizes for economy of writing/presentation,
favoring single-letter, context-sensitive variable names and a
typographer's paradise of symbols and alphabetic variations. Anecdotes
abound of the specialist who finds papers from a different specialty to be

Computing, especially of the commercial variety, tends to optimize for
recognition/hinting for the first-time or infrequent reader, with a bias
toward semantic naming, metaphor, and the palette of the QWERTY-based
keyboard. Anecdotes abound of the complex agglutination of naming patterns
in enterprise-focused frameworks.

I agree with the observation that standardizing some idiomatic,
natural-language verbalizations would tend to help bridge the gap between
those two cultures (hints toward C.P. Snow intended).

To use examples from this thread, verbalizing <*> as "apply" seems to
bridge those two optimizations, with "ap" betraying the mathematical style
of compression over obviousness, and the rest ("spaceship", etc.) showing a
hacker-style love of humor and inside-jokes that is gratifying to the
insiders but off-putting to outsiders/novices.

Each of the optimizations above is legitimate and valued by its community;
insensitivity to those cultural issues will likely continue to reinforce
the separation.

The interesting question to me is whether that's what each community

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 8:32 PM, Tony Morris <tonymorris at gmail.com> wrote:

>  On 04/04/14 03:28, Kim-Ee Yeoh wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 6:08 AM, John M. Dlugosz <ngnr63q02 at sneakemail.com>wrote:
>> I'm having some difficult reading because I don't have "names" for many
>> of the operators, such as <*>.  I know that >>= is pronounced "bind", but
>> what about the others?  Is there some common consensus, a list somewhere,
>> or at least the proper mathematical names to serve as a starting point?
>  Did you try a search? There are links out there.
>  But it's true that a search will only get you so far. I think what we
> don't have enough is idiomatic English coupled to idiomatic Haskell.
>  It's like a proof/program of a proposition in Euclidean geometry. One
> just gets it visually and doesn't really bother with verbalizing on the
> tongue.
>  Provide a code fragment here, and folks will help you with it.
> -- Kim-Ee
> _______________________________________________
> Beginners mailing listBeginners at haskell.orghttp://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/beginners
>  I have heard the following for (<*>)
> * angle butt
> * spaceship
> * apply
> * ap
> * angry eye
> --
> Tony Morrishttp://tmorris.net/
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> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/beginners

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.
- Plato
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