Definition

computer pidgin language (CPL)

Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

Computer pidgin language (CPL) is an artificial language designed to facilitate speech recognition between humans and computers. According to a report from Hewlett Packard Labs, where such a language is being developed, speech recognition programs are not efficient enough to be widely used for computer applications, despite 30 or more years of research. One of the major reasons is that some sounds are difficult for computer programs to recognize. CPL combines sounds that are more easily discerned by computer programs into a simplified grammar to overcome this problem. Since English is the dominant language of computers and the Internet around the world, CPL could offer non-English speakers a simpler alternative to learning that language and potentially diminish the digital divide .

According to a news item in New Scientist, some CPL words, such as crinter (for printer) and teleter (for telephone), would be universal, while others, such as balka, coupo, and obobify, could be given user-defined meanings. Although people might be resistant to learning a new language for computing purposes, HP considers the situation analagous to learning Graffiti for entering text on a personal digital assistant ( PDA ).

The word pidgin is used to indicate that the language is uncomplicated: a pidgin is a language with a small vocabulary and a simple grammar that is created for communication between speakers of different tongues, usually to facilitate trade. As envisioned by HP, the CPL vocabulary consists of modified words taken from English, Japanese, and Esperanto - a language that was created to serve as an international lingua franca (common second language). The word pidgin is thought to have originated from the Cantonese word for "business."

This was last updated in March 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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