Programming Language Specification - Semantics - Natural Language

Natural Language

Most widely-used languages are specified using natural language descriptions of their semantics. This description usually takes the form of a reference manual for the language. These manuals can run to hundreds of pages, e.g., the print version of The Java Language Specification, 3rd Ed. is 596 pages long.

The imprecision of natural language as a vehicle for describing programming language semantics can lead to problems with interpreting the specification. For example, the semantics of Java threads were specified in English, and it was later discovered that the specification did not provide adequate guidance for implementors.

Read more about this topic:  Programming Language Specification, Semantics

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Famous quotes containing the words language and/or natural:

    It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content ... it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.
    René Daumal (1908–1944)

    A person, seasoned with a just sense of the imperfections of natural reason, will fly to revealed truth with the greatest avidity: while the haughty Dogmatist, persuaded that he can erect a compleat system of Theology by the mere help of philosophy, disdains any further aid, and rejects this adventitious instructor.
    David Hume (1711–1776)