Formal Language

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formal language

[¦fȯr·məl ′laŋ·gwij]
(computer science)
An abstract mathematical object used to model the syntax of a programming or natural language.

Formal Language


(1) In a broad sense, a formal language is a set of in some way specialized linguistic means that is provided with more or less precisely defined rules for forming expressions (the syntax of the formal language) and for assigning meaning to the expressions (the semantics of the language). Generally speaking, this use of the term “formal language” does not assume any special restrictions on the syntactic structure, semantic rules, or purpose of the language. For example, the expressions “H2O,” voda, eau, “water,” Wasser, and vesi can, in principle, be considered in equal measure elements of the formal language of chemistry.

(2) In logic, a formal, or formalized, language is an interpreted calculus, that is, a formal system with an interpretation. The use of formal languages is characteristic of mathematical logic, which is often defined as “the subject of formal logic as studied through the construction of formal languages.” It should, however, be noted that this definition is by no means an inherent attribute of presentations of mathematical logic. The concept of formal language not only does not generally occur in particular logico-mathematical languages but, strictly speaking, is not even an element of any specific metalanguages. It is, rather, a useful working term in preliminary heuristic elucidations of the subject matter of mathematical logic.


Church, A. Vvedenie v matematicheskuiu logiku, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. Introduction (subsecs. 00–09). Translated from English.
References in periodicals archive ?
Introducing this formal language is a plaster cast of a Virgin and Child from Notre-Dame, the cathedral's only surviving original trumeau (the vertical central pillar between two doors or windows).
Discussing real-world applications of the team's profound design philosophy and formal language, which seek to motivate and energise public spaces, Albaker noted one was indeed in progress, although he was not at liberty to provide details of the project.
Analysis of consistency rules shows that most rules are expressed in natural and formal language.
According to Hadid,"The design defines a series of academic and research facilities using a formal language of paths and connections that allows the existing buildings to be read as separate elements, maintaining their current detached character.
Giuliana Dettori and Simone Torsani with the paper "Enriching Formal Language Learning with an Informal Social Component", provide an insight on the use of data mining and social bookmarking to build up an easy-to-use tool for enhancing formal language learning with an informal component.
This paper presents an Educational Software for presence or distance education, for subjects of Formal Language, where the student can manipulate virtually the target that must be explored, analyzed and studied.
In the classical context, this happens as soon as the formal language has infinitely many elementary letters; for many non-classical logics, it can also arise in the finite case.
Entitled Aqua, the concept references the formal language of Hadid's renowned London Aquatics Centre.
The Gideon bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it's written using more formal language, so James' book is easier to read.
Written by Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, the formal language used by the alien host suggests Ms Onwurah may have quickly become fed up with the often jargon-filled phrases used by civil servants.
In Section 2, some terms, commonly used for the organization and architecture of a formal language, systems, theories, models and also a space framework or the axis system are described.
With a formal language that is clear, striking and pared-down, it embodies the perfect balance between purism and sheer class.

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