[Haskell-cafe] Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Thorkil Naur naur at post11.tele.dk
Thu Jan 15 16:38:12 EST 2009


On Thursday 15 January 2009 19:59, Peter Verswyvelen wrote:
> It is rather funny. When we are young kids, we learn weird symbols like
> A B C  a b c 1  2  3
> which we accept after a while.
> Then we get to learn more complex symbols like
> ! ? + - /
> and that takes some time to get used to, but eventually, that works too.
> But Functor, Monoid or Monad, that we cannot accept anymore. Why, because
> these are not intuitive? Are the symbols above "intuitive"?

I think there is a simple explanation of this: Consider the amount of time you 
spent, as a young kid, to learn to get used to these funny 1, 2, a, b, x, y, 
+, - and so on. I haven't got the exact schedules from school, but my 
impression is that we are talking about hours and hours of drill and 
practice, over weeks, months, years. I mean, do you show your small children 
(say, 5 years old) how to write numbers to represent, say, the number of 
oranges in a bowl and then they comprehend after, say, a couple of minutes? 
Or half an hour?

No. Learning to get used to such things, let alone use them effectively to 
solve common problems, takes time. And also, of course, intense and qualified 
guidance, in some form.

So, to learn to become familiar and effective in using new and complex 
concepts, we should just accept that it sometimes may take a while. And 
that's it. It is all a matter of practice, exposure, and guidance.

> ...

Best regards

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