From: David Starner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Apr 25 2008 - 17:22:55 CDT
On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM, George W Gerrity
> To people writing specifications for Programming Languages, the difficulty
> of specifying meaning (or correct behaviour) in a Natural Language is well
> known. That is why specifications for newer Programming Languages are
> written in a meta-language, whose semantics and syntax is defined abstractly
> and Mathematically.
That's not how I would describe it. The grammar of Algol 60 was
described with Backus-Naur form, and just about every standardized
language since has used BNF or the equivalent to specify the grammar.
The meaning, however, is a much hairier beast. IIRC, Algol 68 tried to
formally specify meaning, but was considered a failure. Most
standardized languages since have used English to specify meaning
instead of any mathematical meta-language.
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