Musing over Namespaces

Miles Sabin msabin at
Wed Dec 15 10:04:31 GMT 1999

Don Park wrote,
> I moved on to more interesting question: "What if English
> language used namespaces?"  There are several ways to
> interpret this question but the most interesting is this:
> "What is the social impact of using namespaces in English
> or any other spoken/written language?"
> My answer was: massive fragmentation of society.

But we don't have to _imagine_ different natural language
'namespaces' ... in the sense relevant to a comparison with
XML namespaces we've had that since year dot. Not everybody 
speaks English as a first (or even secondary language). Within
the thousands of distinct natural languages there are many
different national, regional and cultural variations. There are 
also innumerable specialized technical and discipline specific 
vocabularies that get mixed in with ordinary language in various 

And your gloomy conclusions don't hold (or, at least, don't hold 
in a way that is directly attributable to language differences).
Granted, language difference might contribute in a small way to
social fragmentation ... but I'd be very surprised if it was
a particularly significant factor in many cases.

Admittedly this situation means that there's plenty of work
for language schools, translators, dictionary compilers and the
like ... but is that really so bad? 



Miles Sabin                       Cromwell Media
Internet Systems Architect        5/6 Glenthorne Mews
+44 (0)20 8817 4030               London, W6 0LJ, England
msabin at

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