Metalogic - Overview - Formal Language

A formal language is an organized set of symbols the essential feature of which is that it can be precisely defined in terms of just the shapes and locations of those symbols. Such a language can be defined, then, without any reference to any meanings of any of its expressions; it can exist before any interpretation is assigned to it—that is, before it has any meaning. First order logic is expressed in some formal language. A formal grammar determines which symbols and sets of symbols are formulas in a formal language.

A formal language can be defined formally as a set A of strings (finite sequences) on a fixed alphabet α. Some authors, including Carnap, define the language as the ordered pair <α, A>. Carnap also requires that each element of α must occur in at least one string in A.

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Famous quotes containing the words language and/or formal:

    I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations.
    Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

    True variety is in that plenitude of real and unexpected elements, in the branch charged with blue flowers thrusting itself, against all expectations, from the springtime hedge which seems already too full, while the purely formal imitation of variety ... is but void and uniformity, that is, that which is most opposed to variety....
    Marcel Proust (1871–1922)