From the weird department: the Wenyan programming language
A few days ago I stumbled on the programming language Wenyan,
designed by Lingdong Huang,
a programmer–artist from CMU.[Note 1]
Unlike most programming languages in use today,
Wenyan does not try to pass off as resembling English:
programs written in Wenyan are written completely in Chinese characters.
Wényán, of course, is 文言 (ˌmɐnˌjin), or Classical Chinese.[Note 2]
Not only are Wenyan programs written in Chinese characters;
they are in fact pretty much actual, grammatically correct Classical Chinese.
Here is an example of what a Wenyan program looks like (I kid you not),
pulled straight from the example file “factorial.wy”:
This is what the program means, quite literally:
If you have a background in computer science,
you might notice the English translation look awfully like pseudocode;
but the Chinese source text is not pseudocode,
it’s actual, executable code.
Many years ago, the Japanese also created a programming language that used Japanese characters,
but I don’t know what happened to that language.
I also don’t know how closely it resembled actual Japanese,
but this one is pretty close.
Classical Chinese to Chinese is like Old English is to English.
But some consider it to be more like Latin, in terms of its cultural significance;
see, for example,
Martin Oei, “日本首相菅義偉稱台灣為國代表乜？” [What is the significance that Yoshihide Suga, the prime minister of Japan, called Taiwan a country?], June 9, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNByyOVDjbw, 9:18–11:24.