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The Nature of Language in .NET Drawer data matrix barcodes in .NET The Nature of Language




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1. using barcode creation for .net control to generate, create data matrix ecc200 image in .net applications. QR Code ISO speicification The Nature of Language Overview This chapter intr Data Matrix for .NET oduces the concept of the nature of language. The purpose of language is communication.

A set of symbols, understood by both sender and receiver, is combined according to a set of rules, its grammar or syntax. The semantics of the language de nes how each grammatically correct sentence is to be interpreted. Using English as a model, language structures are studied and compared.

The issue of standardization of programming languages is examined. Nonstandard compilers are examples of the use of deviations from an accepted standard..

This is a book ab out the structure of programming languages. (For simplicity, we shall use the term language to mean programming language .) We will try to look beneath the individual quirks of familiar languages and examine the essential properties of language itself.

Several aspects of language will be considered, including vocabulary, syntax rules, meaning (semantics), implementation problems, and extensibility. We will consider several programming languages, examining the choices made by language designers that resulted in the strengths, weaknesses, and particular character of each language. When possible, we will draw parallels between programming languages and natural languages.

Di erent languages are like tools in a toolbox: although each language is capable of expressing most algorithms, some are obviously more appropriate for certain applications than others. (You can use a chisel to turn a screw, but it is not a good idea.) For example, it is commonly understood that COBOL is good for business applications.

This is true because COBOL provides a large variety of symbols for controlling input and output formats, so that business reports may easily be 3. CHAPTER 1. THE NATURE OF LANGUAGE made to t printe d forms. LISP is good for arti cial intelligence applications because it supports dynamically growing and shrinking data. We will consider how well each language models the objects, actions, and relationships inherent in various classes of applications.

Rather than accept languages as whole packages, we will be asking: What design decisions make each language di erent from the others Are the di erences a result of minor syntactic rules, or is there an important underlying semantic issue Is a controversial design decision necessary to make the language appropriate for its intended use, or was the decision an accident of history Could di erent design decisions result in a language with more strengths and fewer weaknesses Are the good parts of di erent languages mutually exclusive, or could they be e ectively combined Can a language be extended to compensate for its weaknesses . Communication A natural languag e is a symbolic communication system that is commonly understood among a group of people. Each language has a set of symbols that stand for objects, properties, actions, abstractions, relations, and the like. A language must also have rules for combining these symbols.

A speaker can communicate an idea to a listener if and only if they have a common understanding of enough symbols and rules. Communication is impaired when speaker and listener interpret a symbol di erently. In this case, either speaker and/or listener must use feedback to modify his or her understanding of the symbols until commonality is actually achieved.

This happens when we learn a new word or a new meaning for an old word, or correct an error in our idea of the meaning of a word. English is for communication among people. Programs are written for both computers and people to understand.

Using a programming language requires a mutual understanding between a person and a machine. This can be more di cult to achieve than understanding between people because machines are so much more literal than human beings. The meaning of symbols in natural language is usually de ned by custom and learned by experience and feedback.

In contrast, programming languages are generally de ned by an authority, either an individual language designer or a committee. For a computer to understand a human language, we must devise a method for translating both the syntax and semantics of the language into machine code. Language designers build languages that they know how to translate, or that they believe they can gure out how to translate.

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