# Xah Talk Show 2019-09-28 programing language syntax. why is syntax the most important

Syntax is the most important aspect of a programing language. The quality of a programing language, can be judged by how much of it can be explained by its syntax alone.

- cease and desist
- Xah Language Design
- On Lisp Xah On Lisp
- The Problems of Traditional Math Notation
- formal language
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_language
- formalism, one of the foundation of math. Hilbert's formalism

what are the things you should know, about designing a โbestโ programing language

- let's say 5 years of working in the industry as a programer
- need to know theoretical computer science, such as formal languages, lambda calculus, y combinators, symbolic logic, type theory
- you need to know the history of math notations
- The Problems of Traditional Math Notation
- writing systems of the world. history of writing systems.
- neuro science. for example, how the human brain perceives text. science of communication. for example, the paper about camelCase vs snake_case
- camelCase vs snake_case
- know well the semantics and styles and features of language
- know the history of programing language

here's one example of why study of history of math notation is important. because , often, math notations, creates a entire new branch of math, or entire new thought process.

x^2 + 5 == 10 x^2 + 5 -5 == 10 -5 x^2 == 5 sqrt(x^2) == sqrt(5) x = sqrt(5)

after you have symbolic equation to describe math, then the concept of symbolic manipulation came up. then, after you do that for 100 years, the automatic symbolic manipulation comes up, then, we have formal languages.

- another example, the switch from Roman Numeral to arabic number system.
- another example, matrix notation
- A concrete example. if lisp do not use nested parenthesis for syntax, then, the lisp macro idea will not happen.
- Can Lisp Macro Change Lisp Syntax?

'(a b) (quote a b) (a . b) (cons a b)