[R6RS] Case sensitivity

Richard Kelsey kelsey
Mon Nov 1 21:13:40 EST 2004

   Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 20:36:00 -0500
   From: Marc Feeley <feeley at IRO.UMontreal.CA>

   My point is that a programming language should not force
   you to avoid certain perfectly valid words in your natural language
   because their meaning is not preserved.  Case-insensitivity may
   "work" for English, but not for some other natural languages.

I have seen this argument before, but always in terms
of its potential impact on some third party.  Have you
personally been frustrated by bad interactions between
case insensitivity and French?  Have you heard complaints
from native speakers of other languages?  I am certainly
not denying that it might be an issue, just trying to
understand how real the problem is.

To me this doesn't seem like that big a deal.  There are
lots of words in English that have multiple meanings.
If I use an identifier in one sense of a word I can't
use it for another sense in the same context.  The examples
of case changing the meaning of a word means that
case insensitivity adds a few more words with multiple
meanings to a language.  It doesn't seem to increase
the number substantially, just make a minor annoyance
slighly worse.

(Just for laughs, there is at least one English word that
changes meaning and pronunciation when capitalized: polish.)


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