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programming language

<language> A formal language in which computer programs are written. The definition of a particular language consists of both syntax (how the various symbols of the language may be combined) and semantics (the meaning of the language constructs).

Languages are classified as low level if they are close to machine code and high level if each language statement corresponds to many machine code instructions (though this could also apply to a low level language with extensive use of macros, in which case it would be debatable whether it still counted as low level). A roughly parallel classification is the description as first generation language through to fifth generation language.

Another major distinction is between imperative languages and declarative languages.

(1995-04-06)


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