Textbooks for learning a new language always start the same: you learn to say hello, to introduce yourself, and some simple and useful sentences to communicate with others. In language teaching, this is called a “communicative approach”, and is based on the idea that learning a language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning to real people. This is what I expected to find when I first tried to learn R seven years ago. Sadly, I got stuck in resources that started with definitions of abstract concepts and no real examples of how to say things with data. In this talk I will discuss the benefits of adopting a communicative approach and how to implement it when teaching/learning R, writing documentation, and writing code that will be read by other human beings.

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