What is Expressiveness in a Computer Language

rossberg at ps.uni-sb.de rossberg at ps.uni-sb.de
Sun Jun 25 10:40:44 CEST 2006


Marshall wrote:
> >
> > This means that there's a sense in which the language that the
> > programmer programs in is not the same language that has a formal
> > semantic definition.  As I mentioned in another post, programmers are
> > essentially mentally programming in a richer language - a language which
> > has informal (static) types - but the code they write down elides this
> > type information, or else puts it in comments.
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > In this context, the term "latently-typed language" refers to the
> > language that a programmer experiences, not to the subset of that
> > language which is all that we're typically able to formally define.

That language is not a subset, if at all, it's the other way round, but
I'd say they are rather incomparable. That is, they are different
languages.

> That is starting to get a bit too mystical for my tastes.

I have to agree.

\sarcasm One step further, and somebody starts calling C a "latently
memory-safe language", because a real programmer "knows" that his code
is in a safe subset... And where he is wrong, dynamic memory page
protection checks will guide him.

- Andreas




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