[Haskell-cafe] [Call for Participation]: Haskell Certification Program

Brandon Allbery allbery.b at gmail.com
Tue Jun 25 18:30:42 UTC 2024

On Tue, Jun 25, 2024 at 2:19 PM Matti Nykänen <
matti.johannes.nykanen at gmail.com> wrote:

> In her book "The Programmer’s Brain" (Manning, 2021) Felienne Hermans (who
> knows Haskell) says, among other things, that reserved words like "while"
> and so on act as *cognitive anchors* which support our brains in learning
> programming languages by giving a familiar foothold in the early steps.
> Haskell has none of that: not even a strict division of syntactic
> structures for representing control vs. data - because it does not have it
> in its semantics either.
> What (if anything) does that portend to learning Haskell? To teaching it?
> To assessing the learner's progress?

This is something we already know about: that Haskell is a very different
language from procedural or OO languages. The cognitive anchors are very
different. (It's also not new: in some OO languages, many of these are
methods instead of keywords.)

Which asks a different question: just how fundamental are these anchors to
begin with? Which is also a question in many other disciplines which are
starting to expand beyond Western-dominated viewpoints. (For example, a
fairly major assumption about how human brains process musical chords was
recently struck down by careful research into non-Western musical motifs
and how native listeners perceive them.)

brandon s allbery kf8nh
allbery.b at gmail.com
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