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Clare: How do we understand the role of dominant programming languages?

I’m  interested in whether the use of the term ‘language’ is entirely arbitrary and whether there are any parallels between the spread of human and programming languages, and of course, which communities will benefit or be disadvantaged by this. Are all communities (particularly in the Southern Hemisphere) being included in discussions on spread? Is there any impact?

I want to study if from an Applied Linguistic perspective, and a Web Architecture perspective. Linguistics has focussed on a very hegemonic role of dominant languages, spread through military and economic dominance, with often negative impacts on local culture (Crystal, 1996). In this view of Linguistic Imperialism, the interests of many minority cultures are not represented. Campaigns to maintain the purity of language have been seen as a reaction against perceived threats to the power of dominant groups.  Are there any parallels with web languages? Are any groups impacted positively or negatively by this? Others have seen the fragmentation of dominant web languages as inevitable, with an impact on inter-communicability. (Kachru,1998). If so, what might be the impact?




From a web architecture perspective, have attempts to maintain the open sharing nature of the web been successful? Do the languages of the web function as languages, with a politics and a social role, or do they simply facilitate the resolution of problems?


One thought on “Clare: How do we understand the role of dominant programming languages?

  1. Vera Shcherbina says:

    Are you going to use ethnographic approach? read discussions between programmers who prefer one or another language? I read a lot of such talks between Ruby’s and Python’s followers, and it was extremely interesting for some sort of ethnomethodological research.

    But looking on Web-used languages — I thought, each of them have their own purpose. Or do you think to look onto different versions of one language?


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