Types of Computer Languages

By Edward Perry

Computer language or programming language is a coded syntax used by computer programmers to communicate with a computer. It is the only language that computers, software programs and computer hardware can understand. Computer language establishes a flow of communication between software programs. The language enables a computer user to dictate what commands the computer must perform to process data. Computer language comes in various types that employ different sets of syntax.

Machine Language

Machine language or machine code is the native language directly understood by the computer's central processing unit or CPU. This type of computer language is not easy to understand, as it only uses a binary system, an element of notations containing only a series of numbers consisting of one and zero, to produce commands. The computer's processor needs to convert high-level languages into this language before it can run a program or do a user-defined command. To convert a certain language into machine code, the computer processor needs a compiler, a program that converts a source code written in one language into a different language syntax. The compiler generates a binary file, or executable file, that the CPU will execute. Every computer processor has its own set of machine code. The machine code will determine what the computer processor should do, and how it should do it.

Assembly Level Language

A study in the early 1950s has led to the development of low level languages or Assembly Level Language. Also considered as second-generation language, Assembly Level Language is a set of codes that can run directly on the computer's processor. This type of language is most appropriate in writing operating systems and maintaining desktop applications. It allows the programmer to perform several tasks like registry access, memory management and clock cycle correspondence. With the assembly level language, it is easier for a programmer to define commands because he has the prerogative when it comes to naming the variables. However, this language is not flexible because the user cannot reuse the set of codes written using this language. It is not as explanatory as compared to its other counterparts. The user has to encrypt this language into machine language in order for the computer to process the commands written by the programmer.

High Level Language

The development of high level languages came about when the computer programmers started to have problems regarding the computer's increasing lack of portability. High level languages ignore the unimportant details found in low level languages. Many programmers consider the high level language as a momentous solution to hassles brought about by computer languages because of its ease of use and low tendency to produce bugs. Programmers often refer to high level languages as mid level languages that only use the concepts of abstraction and constructs to the extremes.