Question: Can you forget a language ?

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#1 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:44 AM

Hello !
I started learning C# few days ago and it's working great with the basics so far since I already know C++ to a certain extent . Also, I am learning by Charles Petzold's .NET Book Zero which was written precisely for C++ to C# move .
However , I am wondering , has it ever happened to you to forget a previously learned language while learning a new one ? or mixing syntax , anything like that :)

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:45 AM

Certainly.. all the time. The key is learning the concepts and the syntax becomes a secondary issue.


Moving to 'software development'.
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#3 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:52 AM

Thanks . Didn't know exactly where to put the topic . And the problem is next summer I'll have my 12th grade exam to go to college and to get into college I'll have to pass another exam and all those are either in Pascal or C++ , so I don't wanna end up making stupid mistakes by mixing C# with C++ syntax .
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:55 AM

Like I said - as long as you have concepts down and brush up on the syntax you can get your way through. I can't remember exact syntax of all the languages I deal with, but I know what I want to do and how to get there so the actual path.. meh - less important.
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#5 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:47 AM

For the record , how many languages do you know ?
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:52 AM

Quite a damn few.
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#7 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:53 AM

So learning the second one shouldn't be a problem , right?
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:14 PM

Not really.. again it's all about understanding how to visualize your objects, states, flow, and structures. A loop is a fairly universal concept, but lord knows it is implemented in different ways. Lemur had a topic around that was about how he took code he wrote in one language and would reimplemented it in another. This kept him thinking conceptually and not become too married to syntax.

edit: this topic.

This post has been edited by modi123_1: 18 August 2012 - 12:16 PM

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#9 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:18 PM

Thank you . I really appreciate all your help
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#10 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:23 PM

No problem. Some people have eidetic memories and can recall all the syntax of everything they've programmed in.. most of us don't have that (not to mention programing language version changes that depreciate all that information). People get way hung up on nuances that (with the joyous use of the internet) you can farm out the syntax. :D
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#11 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:42 PM

Also , I started on C# because I want a fast way to develop desktop applications since these don't need so much performance as games. And I shall use C++ for games since games need performance and also most AAA companies require them to get hired ( and I want to become a game developer someday ) . So is my rationalization good ?
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#12 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:12 PM

I find that I can get confused if I work, say, in Python extensively for a while and then go back to java. I do stupid things like omitting semicolons for a few iterations, but then I reset my brain and it's all okay.
Generally speaking, the real core of the language might take a few minutes to come back to but it's not a big issue - I "forget" bits of the language, but not in any serious way, or for any serious stretch of time.

Mostly, I find that I get better at the old languages by learning new ones, because many ideas are portable. An idiom in lisp might give me an idea for java, or something. Each language has particular tricks that are obvious in that language, but you can often do similar things in other languages, and that's very useful.
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#13 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:26 PM

@modi123_1 : I read that topic . It's a good-to-know way of keeping your language-claws sharp if I may say so . I think I'll do that too with C++ as main language and C# as clone . Do you practice this technique ? And if you do , with what languages ?
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#14 Lemur  Icon User is online

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:27 PM

The primary reason that I use the clone language is, as modi said, not to get attached to a language. When I program Ruby, I want to do so in a Ruby way. When I program Python, I want to do so in a Python way.

Really whenever you get good enough at one language, it's all syntax and becomes quite trivial to move to a new language at that point. The only other thing to really be worried about is style, and yes all languages do have a style. Don't believe me? Write in Python or C for a few months then write Ruby and go into one of their hotbeds and ask what they think of your code.

Forgetting is a possibility, but then again I'm of the opinion that if you can forget a language then you never really knew the language in the first place, making it far more of a moot point. I learned VB and Basic in High School, and within 1 day of reviewing syntax I can be back up and running with them. Even less time on languages that I learned later on, mainly because I had so much more of a knowledge of programming at that point.

The number one thing I would tell any new programmer is this: Ignore every language except for one when you start. Focus on it, learn every detail, everything that makes that language a distinct entity. Be able to quote the origin, the typing, every last detail. If you know one language to this level, new languages will flow much more smoothly because you'll have very stark contrast between your base language and the one you're trying to learn.

On the surface most languages look the same, but if you get to the point of being able to know what makes that language tick, it all becomes immensely clearer.
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#15 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question: Can you forget a language ?

Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:09 PM

Well , I understand what you're saying but to learn C++'s "each detail" would take years ( if you put libraries in count ). Should I wait and learn all the functions in all headers before moving to C# ?
That doesn't mean I can't code in C++ but I'm no way near the "big" guys on this forum which have lots of years in the background .
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