Through the discussion of analysis, synthesis, and systems thinking, I came to think of a system I know and love to learn: language. At the basis, the language system has a core purpose: to transform sounds and symbols into something with meaning. It has measures for control, like syntax and grammar, and other components and subsystems like body language, tone of voice, and context, which all interact to make languages a form of communication. In addition, language significantly interacts with the world around it. I have learned Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic, and in learning the vernaculars of each language, have knowledge of the cultural differences that are so deeply engrained they may not otherwise be evident. You could consider culture as an external influence to language as well, affecting the mannerisms and understanding of the system.
By breaking down language as a system, we can also look at different forms abstractly as a “language.” Music, for example, transforms sounds and pitches into something that can communicate feeling and emotion. Mathematics transforms numbers and symbols into something useful for interpretation. We may also look at coding languages and data analytics in a similar way. The purpose of data analytics is to transform raw data into meaningful patterns to communicate for value. However, as culture influences language, it may also influence the interpretation of data and analytics, and this may be important in order to understand code, write code for analytics, and interpret the results.
What do you think about looking at different languages as systems, including data analytics tools and coding platforms? Refer to Raymond Hickey’s levels of language below for inspiration.