Monday, March 10, 2008

Usability & Popularity

My Friend says...

It never ends to amaze me how complicated a natural language is, and yet functional.

It gave me a thought that the language popularity has got definitely something to do with its usability.

From the few languages that I know to read and write, I ranked them in the order of highly usable as English, Hindi and Tamil. To give you an example, think of how English uses its upper and lowercase letters effectively to begin a sentence. How Hindi has different characters for different sounds -- I assume pronunciation is never a problem. Analysing languages and ranking them will only start off a political debate, which is not my intention here.

I am not going to list why I think Hindi is so good when it is written or why Tamil is good to write poetry or why I think English has best bit of everything to be the real winner. "Why?" Why, because I don't have a list and I do not have an authority to speak for any language. This is only an attempt to emphasise why usability is important for any tools' success
My friend is proud that he speaks English


Unknown said...

Even though my friend thinks that english is the most usable language, i beg to differ in this matter. According to me English is the most complicated language i know and thats why i'm still to figure out how to sound the 'O's in the words "Note" and word "Not". Malayalam and Hindi for that matter have separate alphabets for different sounds and there is never a confusion in that matter. Tamil i found simple to learn coz of the less number of alphabets but the bad side of it is that the same alphabet is pronounced in many ways.

Anonymous said...

I see your point of comparison. But languages can not be compared with tools. Why ? When it comes for tools you are given with many options to choose. But with language you don't have a choice. You just can not refuse any language for the sake of usability, if you are in a position to use that language. Every language has it's own complications in one or other parts. It is more complex to judge if you further think about the fact that complexity is a relative thing based on your experience and expertise. As a Malayali you may find it easier to pronounce 'zha' ( ழ ) in Tamil than a Hindi Ji ! It could be too complex for an American Buddy !