What is Expresiveness in a Computer Language?

Pete Barrett petebarrett at beeb.net
Sun Jul 10 18:07:30 CEST 2005


On 10 Jul 2005 02:57:04 -0700, "Xah Lee" <xah at xahlee.org> wrote:

>Similarly, in computer languages, expressiveness is significant with
>respect to semantics, not syntactical variation.
>
It may just be me, but I tend to think of a computer language as a
tool for directing computers to perform specific actions. Do we talk
about the expressiveness of a spade?

There's a similar concept in the 'possible uses' of a tool (a spade is
an excellent tool for digging the garden, but you wouldn't use it to
clean your teeth; you *could* use a toothbrush to dig the garden, but
you wouldn't if a spade was available). Similarly with computer
languages - some are better for certain tasks than others, but I don't
think 'expressiveness' is the way to describe that.

Pete Barrett



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