LINGUIST List 21.3370

Sun Aug 22 2010

Books: Computational Linguistics: Tanaka-Ishii

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <>

        1.    Daniel Davies, Semiotics of Programming: Tanaka-Ishii

Message 1: Semiotics of Programming: Tanaka-Ishii
Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Daniel Davies <>
Subject: Semiotics of Programming: Tanaka-Ishii
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Title: Semiotics of Programming Published: 2010 Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii Hardback: ISBN: 9780521516556 Pages: 232 Price: U.K. £ 55.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9780521736275 Pages: 232 Price: U.K. £ 19.99

Tanaka-Ishii presents a semiotic analysis of computer programs along threeaxes: models of signs, kinds of signs, and systems of signs. Becausecomputer programs are well defined and rigid, applying semiotic theories tothem will help to reorganise the semiotic theories themselves. Semioticdiscussion of programming theory can provide possible explanations for whyprogramming has developed as it has and how computation is fundamentallyrelated to human semiosis. This book considers the question of whatcomputers can and cannot do, by analysing how computer sign systems compareto those of humans. A key concept throughout is reflexivity - thecapability of a system or function to reinterpret what it has produced byitself. Sign systems are reflexive by nature, and humans know how to takeadvantage of this characteristic but have not yet fully implemented it intocomputer systems. The limitations, therefore, of current computers can beascribed to insufficient reflexivity.

- Straddles the domains of semiotics and computation, as well as those ofthe humanities and engineering, and of studies of humans and machines- Explains the essence of semiotic theories in a formal way- Explains the 'why' of computer programming from a humanities viewpoint,which has rarely been addressed in other books about computer programming


1. Introduction;2. Computer signs in programs;Part I. Models of Signs:3. The Babylonian confusion;4. Marriage of signifier and signified;5. Being and doing in programs;Part II. Kinds of Signs and Content:6. The statement x := x + 1;7. Three kinds of content in programs;8. An instance vs. the instance;Part III. Systems of Signs:9. Structural humans vs. constructive computers;10. Sign and time;11. Reflexivity and evolution;12. Conclusion

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Written In: English (eng )

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