Is language just a set of strings?

The newest entry on my Ocean of Awareness blog: "Is language just a set of strings?"

"The languages human beings use with each other are powerful, varied, flexible and endlessly retargetable. The parsers we use to communicate with computers are restrictive, repetitive in form, difficult to reprogram, and prohibitively hard to retarget. Is this because humans have a preternatural language ability?
"Or is there something wrong with the way we go about talking to computers? How the Theory of Parsing literature defines the term "language" may seem of only pedantic interest. But I will argue that it is a mistake which has everything to do with the limits of modern computer languages."

About Jeffrey Kegler

user-pic I blog about Perl, with a focus on parsing and Marpa, my parsing algorithm based on Jay Earley's.