[Haskell-cafe] Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at worc.ox.ac.uk
Thu Jan 15 17:18:27 EST 2009

On Thu, 2009-01-15 at 21:59 +0000, Thomas DuBuisson wrote:
> > How does forcing them to learn proposed terminology such as `Appendable'
> > help here?  Learners of Haskell do still need to learn what the new word
> > means.
> The contention is that 'Appendable' is an intuitive naming that people
> will already have a rudimentary grasp of.  This as opposed to Monoid,
> which absolutely requires looking up for the average coder.

It reminds me a bit of my school French classes. Our teacher often
brought up the subject of "false friends", that is words in the foreign
language that sound superficially familiar to one in the native language
but are in fact different in subtle but important ways.

In this case Appendable has the wrong connotations for what the Monoid
class does. Appendable does not sound symmetric to me and it places too
much emphasis on monoids that resemble lists.

Perhaps there is a more common word that reflects the meaning without
being misleading. But if we cannot find one, then picking a name that is
unfamiliar to most people may well be better than picking a name that is
misleading or is too narrow.


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