Friday, December 10, 2021

Testing and Language


The other day I got tagged on a Twitter thread started by Wicked Witch of the Test about people with a background in linguistics who’ve ended up in testing. That prompted me to think about the language concepts I've found valuable in my day job, then I started listing them, and then realised how many of them I've mentioned here over the years.

Like all collaborative activities, software development requires a medium for communication. As humans we tend to choose language, written and spoken.

This is great! Most humans come preinstalled with language.

This is terrible! Most humans come preinstalled with ambiguous language and a huge blindspot about it.

Who hasn't been in a conversation where it turns out that was delivered, despite being precisely what was asked for, turns out to be nothing like what was asked for?  

We all know intuitively how low the signal-noise ratio can be, but the field of linguistics has terminology and theory that can help us to tease out what kinds of issues there might be, where, when, and for who.

In an occasional series, I'll summarise something of what I've learned about this tech Tower of Babel.


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