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Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Computer Science?

I've always had an interest in things computery. When I was 13, my life goal was to work for Microsoft, but I never was particularly encouraged to do so. Also at 13, I wrote a LOT. My family saw this and urged me to pursue something along the lines of language. I'd tossed around this idea in my head and thus listed out the different "majors" one could have that related to linguistic ability.

I could pursue English as a major, but I never found it interesting to compose large pieces of writing. Creative writing would also be required somewhere along the line which would be enough to make me panic! I often say that I haven't an artistic bone in my body. While this is a slight exaggeration, it is just that: slight.

I did find foreign languages extremely fascinating, but I found that in taking foreign language courses the most fun was had in finding cognates. Not only cognates between language X and English, either. I would search for cognates between languages that were not my own. The problem I had with majoring in a foreign language was that I couldn't learn several at once. I didn't want to major in French because then what about German? And Italian? Russian? Japanese?

I know it is common for foreign language majors to major in more than one foreign language, but I wanted to learn more than just one or two languages. And then I realized it: It's not the languages themselves that interest me. It's the relationships between languages. It was linguistics that interested me: the problems with pragmatics and the translations of historic texts, the different types of morphemes, etc. These things fascinated me, but I always wanted to DO something with them.

I couldn't create a language... well I could, but why? I didn't want to study something that I felt the sole purpose was to teach it to other people. And I do know that linguistics has MAJOR applications, but nothing that interested me.

Learning to program and writing programs... these things make me feel like I do when I am reading something on linguistics. From what I've seen of programming thus far, there are similarities between it and linguistics. And, of course, one being the passion I feel in searching for an answer, trying to figure something out, and reading something new. Yes, I'm new at it, but here I am at 4:57 in the AM (still awake from learning more programming) typing out my thoughts on linguistics and the relationship it has with programming. I could go into depth with the nerdy guts of WHAT it is about linguistics and WHAT it is about computer science that make them similar in my eyes, but perhaps I will do that another time.