What is Programming Language?

Web Development Jargons Explained in 3 Different Ways

TLDR: Coding is a way to talk to computers. In essence, when we code, we are telling the computer what to do. It’s the same thing as telling a person what to do. A programming language is like any spoken language.


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Coding is a way to talk to computers. In essence, when we code, we are telling the computer what to do. It’s the same thing as telling a person what to do. A programming language is like any spoken language.

For example, you can tell a person in English the following:

  1. Walk straight until you reach the subway station
  2. Take the blue line for 2 stations
  3. Get off and Buy a cup of coffee

The reason why a person understands you is that a human can interpret your words. This same requirement goes for computers. When you tell computers instructions, you have to express it in a way that a computer understands.

Human communications are through different ways of verbal and physical communications. Verbal communications are usually called languages, such as English and Chinese. For computers, we have programming languages, which are ways of talking to computers. There are hundreds of programming languages out there. Some of the popular programming languages are JavaScript, Ruby, Python and Java.

Programming languages are designed for humans to read, contrary to common misconceptions. Some languages are more human-readable than others. There’s a spectrum of human readability in programming languages.

Codes written in programming languages are often translated into machine codes, and computers understand machine codes. In other words, computers translate human-readable codes into machine-readable codes.

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A programming language is a formal language that specifies a set of instructions that can be used to produce various kinds of output. Programming languages generally consist of instructions for a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that implement specific algorithms.

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