strong/weak typing and pointers

Steven Bethard steven.bethard at
Tue Nov 2 21:15:41 CET 2004

Gabriel Zachmann writes:
> I understand strong/weak typing is more like a continuum --
> is there kind of a programming langauges hierarchy sorting various
> langauges accoring to "type-strongness" that is generally agreed upon?

Well, as you can probably see from the discussion, the definition of strong/weak
typing isn't even agreed upon, so I'd be wary of giving a hierarchy. ;)  The two
main interpretations that I've seen in this thread:

(1) Weakly-typed languages allow you to take a block of memory that was
originally defined as one type and reinterpret the bits of this block as another
type[1]. (This is the definition usually used in Programming Languages

(2) Weakly-typed languages have more implicit coercions than strongly-typed
languages.  (This seems to be the favored definition on this newsgroup.)

The answer to your question depends on which one of these definitions you're
interested in.  Definition (1) will have a much flatter hierarchy than
definition (2).  Which definition are you interested in?


[1] see my example at

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