1. A language with explicit and precise rules for its syntax and semantics. Examples include programming languages and also logics such as predicate calculus. Thus formal languages contrast with natural languages such as English whose rules, evolving as they do with use, fall short of being either a complete or a precise definition of the syntax, much less the semantics, of the language.
2. A finite or infinite set of strings, considered in isolation from any possible meaning the strings or the symbols in them may have. If A is any set, an A-language (or language over A) is any set of A-words (see word). A is referred to as the alphabet of such a language.
"formal language." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/formal-language
"formal language." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved February 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/formal-language
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
1. Language that is formal and ceremonial.
2. A language designed for use in situations in which natural language is considered unsuitable, such as logic, mathematics, and computer programming. Compare ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE, NATURAL LANGUAGE.
"FORMAL LANGUAGE." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/formal-language
"FORMAL LANGUAGE." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved February 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/formal-language