Lingo of Lambda Land

Lingo of Lambda Land by Katie Miller.

From the post:

Comonads, currying, compose, and closures
This is the language of functional coders
Equational reasoning, tail recursion
Lambdas and lenses and effect aversion
Referential transparency and pure functions
Pattern matching for ADT deconstructions
Functors, folds, functions that are first class
Monoids and monads, it’s all in the type class
Infinite lists, so long as they’re lazy
Return an Option or just call it Maybe
Polymorphism and those higher kinds
Monad transformers, return and bind
Catamorphisms, like from Category Theory
You could use an Either type for your query
Arrows, applicatives, continuations
IO actions and partial applications
Higher-order functions and dependent types
Bijection and bottom, in a way that’s polite
Programming of a much higher order
Can be found just around the jargon corner

I posted about Kate Miller’s presentation, Coder Decoder: Functional Programmer Lingo Explained, with Pictures but wanted to draw your attention to the poem she wrote to start the presentation.

In part because it is an amusing poem but also for you to attempt an experiment that Stanley Fish reports on interpretation of poems.

Stanley’s experiment is recounted in “How to Recognize a Poem When You See One,” which appears as chapter 14 in Is There A Text In This Class? The Authority of Interpretative Communities by Stanley Fish.

As functional programmers or wannabe functional programmers, you are probably not the “right” audience for this experiment. (But, feel free to try it.)

Stanley’s experiment came about from a list of authors given to one class, centered on a blackboard (yes, many years ago) to which, for the second class, Stanley drew a box around the list of names and inserted “p. 43” on the board. Those were the only changes between the classes.

The second class was one on interpretation of religious poetry and they were instructed this list was a religious poem and they should being applied the techniques learned in the class to its interpretation.

Stanley’s account of this experiment is masterful and I urge you to read his account in full.

At the same time, you will learn a lot about semantics if you ask a poetry professor to have one of their classes produce an interpretation of this poem. You will discover that “not knowing the meaning of the terms” is no barrier to the production of an interpretation. Sit in the back of the classroom and don’t betray the experiment by offering explanations of the terms.

The question to ask yourself at the end of the experiment is: Where did the semantics of the poem originate? Did Katie Miller imbue it with semantics that would be known to all readers? Or do the terms themselves carry semantics and Katie just selected them? If either answer is yes, how did the poetry class arrive at its rather divergent and colorful explanation of the poem?

Hmmm, if you were scanning this text with a parser, whose semantics would your parser attribute to the text? Katie’s? Any programmers? The class’?

Worthwhile to remember that data processing chooses “a” semantic, not “the” semantic in any given situation.

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