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computer language System of words and rules used to program a computer. Most computers work using a binary-coded language (using 1s and 0s) called machine code. A language consisting of words and symbols that relate more directly to normal language can be used to instruct a computer. A compiler, assembler, or other such program then translates this into machine code. Several kinds of programming language have been designed for different purposes. Fortran is for scientific and mathematical use, COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) for business programs, Algol for mathematical applications, and BASIC and Pascal were originally for use by learners. Today, the majority of applications for personal computers are written in a language called ‘C’, or derivatives of it.
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