The Electronic Labyrinth

HyperTalk versus English

HyperTalk is similar enough to English that the following fragment may be readily understood, even by programming novices:

mark cards where field "Labyrinth" is empty

Paradoxically, the closeness with which HyperTalk approximates a natural language can lead to confusion. Statements which appear logical given our knowledge of English lead to errors:

get the mark of this card

The correct syntax uses "marked" in place of "mark."

HyperTalk allows the use of powerful system variables, including the pronoun "it." However, confusion can again arise if these pronouns are used as in English. Consider the following example from Stanley (58). We wish to say "if the door is open then close it" in HyperTalk. This English statement results in the error "Can't understand arguments to close." The following also does not produce the desired effect:

get door
if it is "open" then put "close" into it

The correct syntax replaces the final "it" with "door."

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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