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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
That is, a formal language is a natural language L = ([SIGMA], [GAMMA], [S.sub.[SIGMA]]) for which the elements of the signature and the rules of grammar are exhaustively enumerated.
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).
Specifically, he wants to construct a formal language using the notions of primary substance (an object), secondary substance (a kind), attribute (general property), and mode (particular property).
Noise can include the use of jargon, use of particular words (such as very formal language or cursing), volume of speech (too loud or soft), having an accent, using the wrong body language or using the wrong medium.
is particular article was a formal report about a very serious and tragic event and, in this instance, correct and formal language would have been more 'tting than the slang terminology that you elected to use.
Standard Arabic is the formal language used by all Arab states, mainly in writing and in giving speeches.
Elaborating on the technically sophisticated approach taken to this method of putting together approaches to different elements which predominate in public spaces, Albaker explained that 'we're looking at the three territories of a beach, a park and a city square, and the idea we're bringing into this exhibition, from which an architectural and design philosophy emerges formally throughout the exhibition, and is condensed into a formal language whereby these three elements are perhaps obscured from the sense of familiarity of say, what a bench, or a landscape is, and they are then re-formed and reorganised in order to shape and activate the public space.
Special conventions, if followed consistently, are permitted where formal language is used.
"Our design is an integration of volumes that flow into each other and, following a coherent formal language, create the sensibility of the building's overall ensemble," explained Zaha Hadid, founder of London-based Zaha Hadid Architects and the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Further, the formal language of pixilation, which is achieved by the time tested means of the grid no less, finally and firmly locates these paintings in the contemporary digital era.
[5] were the first ones to suggest the paradigm of checking of UML models based on reasoning mechanism of a formal language. Its idea is translating UML models and their consistency rules to any 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.

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