What is a Computer language?

To communicate with the computers, we need some languages. These are computer languages.

There are mainly three different languages with the help of which we can develop computer programs. And they are –

  • Machine Level language
  • Assembly Level Language and
  • High Level Language

Machine Level Language

Computer can understand only the language of Digital Electronics. Digital Electronics deals with presence and absence of voltages. Within the computer there are two logics can play their role. These logics are –

  • Positive Logic – Here presence of voltage will be denoted by 1 and absence of voltage will be denoted by 0
  • Negative Logic – Here presence of voltage will be denoted by 0 and absence of voltage will be denoted by 1

But obviously computer can follow anyone of the logics at a time, not both the logics simultaneously. To make the computer understand, a program can be written using only 0s and 1s. The data can also be specified and represented using only 0s and 1s. Such a program is called Machine Language program. Machine language was the first in the evolution of computer programming languages. Computer directly understands a program written in the machine language. So as a result, machine language program does not require any translator to convert from one form to another. In fact, even to this day, basically computers understand only the 0s and 1s.

Assembly Level Language

After machine level language, the next level of development in the evolution of computer languages was the Assembly Language. Machine level language uses only the binary language. But on the other hand, assembly language uses mnemonics or symbolic instructions in place of a sequence of 0s and 1s. As example, we can consider that, to add register A and B in a particular computer, assembly language uses the mnemonic ‘ADD B’ in place of 10001111. In assembly language, we use symbolic names to denote addresses and data. A number of such examples are dealt with in the successive chapters. Thus writing a program in assembly language has advantages over writing the same in a machine language.

High Level Language

High level language is the next development in the evolution of computer languages. Examples of some high-level languages are given below –

  • PROLOG (for “PROgramming LOGic”);
  • FORTRAN (for ‘FORrmula TRANslation’);
  • LISP (for “LISt Processing”);
  • Pascal (named after the French scientist Blaise Pascal).

High-level languages are like English-like language, with less words also known as keywords and fewer ambiguities. Each high level language will have its own syntax and keywords. The meaning of the word syntax is grammar.

Updated on: 04-Oct-2019

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