On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 12:36 AM, Jeff Sheets <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The main concept about Domain Specific Languages, which I'll be calling a
> domlang (not to be confused with a dominant language, s'il vous plait), is
> that it is intended only for specific uses. Just like the set of languages
> used by pilots talking to air traffic controllers is generally used only in
> that specific situation or discussions about such situations, so to will any
> domlang be intentionally limited to a domain of human experience. But since
> domlangs are intended to be fully capable languages, unlike radio
> conventions for speaking between cockpit and aircon, a domlang can and
> should be able to express any human idea. The difference is that it will be
> designed to be able to express the nuances of its intended domain with far
> greater eloquence than any language not so designed. Think of a technical
> jargon taken to extremes.

I'm quite glad to see your post, as I was considering bringing up the
very same topic, that is, languages with a particular semantic focus.
The focus of my language is quite different from yours.  My language
isn't yet settled on a particular fixed name (and indeed may never be,
since a certain fluidity is essential to its character), but for the
purpose of describing it now I'll temporarily call it %&%.  One of the
distinguishing qualities of %&% is that it's only used by typing on a
keyboard.  There's no spoken (or gestural, etc.) form of a word like
"%&%"; it's just those typewritten characters.  The domain that %&%
focuses on is the world of typewritten communication, and specifically
the world of communicating in %&% itself.

As an example, one of the primary concepts in %&% is the idea of a ~,
which is a medium in which characters can be typewritten.  This
mailing list for instance is a ~, as is an IM window or a wiki or a
piece of paper in a typewriter, etc.  There will be a lot of words for
the sorts of things people usually do with ~, like write in them and
read from them, grant access to them or keep them private, use them as
an ongoing social space or write to them once before abandoning them.
There will also be words for new concepts of how to relate to ~ that
are more specific to the (hypothetical) culture of %&%, such as the
idea that the creation of a ~ itself (as distinct from the
communication that happens there) can have symbolic or ceremonial
meaning, that a ~ can serve as a home and living definition of a
symbol, that a ~ can be a meeting place where a relationship begins
and then persist as a shared memento and ground of that relationship,
or that a ~ can serve a spiritual or therapeutic purpose.

It might eventually be possible to express ordinary concepts about
ordinary objects in the rest of the world in %&%, but I'd prefer for
it to be somewhat roundabout and clumsy.  For instance a keyboard
might be fairly directly described as an object that allows you to
enter text, and then from there a word for "cat" could be reached that
describes how they type random things on keyboards.  Walking around in
space could be described through the metaphor of how a text or
conversation proceeds from an origin to a destination.  "AFK" is an
example of a word that resembles the spirit I have in mind, of
describing everything from that point of reference of typing text.
The rest of the world can be described, but only in negative, as
another space outside of that ordinary ground reality of typewritten

I wonder what languages have ever yet been created with that kind of
focus.  Are there languages yet with such a restricted range of
meanings where they're comfortable?  All that comes to mind is some
ceremonial religious languages that I've vaguely heard about, but I
don't know enough about any of them to know how constrained or focused
they are.

la stela selckiku