in ,

Programming Language Paradigms

Do you know the difference between a procedural programming language and a functional programming language? This glossary of common programming language paradigms will help you understand the basics.


Coding has inundated me with mysterious terminology in the past year. It's nothing less than what I predicted, but it has occasionally felt like certain blog posts and online courses should come with a dictionary for coding novices.

Today, I will be discussing the different types of programming languages, as well as the different programming language paradigms.

This post is all about the jargon surrounding programming language categories and paradigms. My own learning experience inspired me to write this post. A programming language paradigm is simply a method of classifying languages based on their characteristics.

Keep reading to find out what distinguishes the first-generation language from a fourth-generation one!

Low-level language

Programs written in an assembly language are very fast and consume little memory because they are close to machine languages. An assembler program translates them into machine language.

It is rather easy to learn assembly languages since they contain a limited number of commands.

Despite their simplicity, writing a program in assembly language can be time-consuming and difficult to manage because of the limited commands. Furthermore, the developer must be careful not to make any mistakes while typing their code.

Furthermore, an assembly language is specific to one type of CPU, since each has its own assembly and machine language.

A compiled language is one that is compiled rather than being compiled

Code can be compiled to run directly on your computer’s processor.

Programs written in compiled languages run faster than programs written in interpreted languages.

A compiler is a program that translates computer code into machine language

It is imperative to utilize a compiler to run programs written in a compiled programming language.

When you require to run a program written in a compiled language, you must utilize a compiler to do so.

Your computer can directly execute machine code without any additional applications or translation procedures, as long as it has a compiler.

Non-native language

Machine languages are the first generation of programming languages, and are thus low-level languages.

A computer can directly run a program written in a first-generation language without first compiling the program.

A foreign language learned at home

Low-level assembly languages are second-generation languages.

Despite being easier for you and me to read than pure machine language programs, they are still difficult to understand and master, let alone write complex programs and manage them efficiently.

A third-generation language is a computer language that is used to program computers

Machine-independent third-generation languages were the first to exist. This was new after the first two generations of languages, where programs had previously been written specifically for a certain type or CPU, for example.

You can program for several different devices using them and run your programs with a compiler.

A fourth-generation language is a language fifth-generation and above

Code written in the fourth generation of programming languages is made to resemble human language, taking abstraction to the next level.

Because they are simpler for us humans to read and understand, writing entire programs by yourself becomes relatively easy and fast.

An abstraction like this can slow down your programs and consume more memory since they must be compiled into machine language in order for a computer to run them correctly.

A fifth-generation computer language

A fifth-generation language is a language that is designed to be suitable for practical use in fields other than computer science. Programs can be developed using visual tools.

Visual C is a good example of this.

A language that can be used for any purpose

All kinds of programs can be created using a general-purpose programming language.

Having mastered one of these languages, you can utilize your skills for a variety of purposes.

You can create games, perform data mining, or build sophisticated web applications from the ground up using Python as your first programming language.

A programming language that is designed to be simple to use

A code written in a high-level language is more abstract than one written in a low-level language, making it easier to read (especially for new coders). This makes them somewhat resemble human language.

However, a program written in a high-level language must first be compiled into machine language in order to run.

Choosing a simple programming language to learn is easy if you're a beginner.

Typed language?

You can define and declare a variable in a loosely typed programming language, but you don’t need to specify its type.

A strong-typed language, on the other hand, requires you to specify the type of every variable.

A low-level programming language

Machine languages and instruction sets are essentially languages in which the code you write is similar to real machine language and instruction sets.

Low-level languages don’t provide much abstraction of programming concepts, making them distinct from high-level languages.

Using low-level languages allows you to create programs that operate very quickly and consume a minimum amount of memory. Developers save a lot of time by using the least amount of abstraction possible while preserving efficiency and performance.

However, a low level of abstraction requires a deeper understanding of the language, its intricacies, and machine code.

Programs are written in machine language

Machine language is simply a group of ones and zeros known as binary code.

Computers then read and interpret them. They are the least sophisticated programming language, consisting solely of numbers.

Since machine language is the only language a computer can understand, any computer program written in any other language must first be converted into machine language. Your computer can then run it as usual.

A set of tags is known as a markup language

Text can be processed and presented using markup languages.

HTML contains codes that define the structure, content, and styling of text on your website. You specify formatting using different tags inside your code, such as:

A body is required.

Human language is natural

Computer science refers to all human languages as natural languages.

The goal of computer science is to make computer interaction as simple as possible for humans, so that computers and programs can comprehend human languages. (Siri, are you listening?)

Fourth-generation programming languages are the closest yet to natural languages.

Procedural language

A procedure language follows a set of instructions or commands.

Programs simply execute a sequence of computational steps when these sets of commands are active.

Fake language

A pseudolanguage is any programming language that must be compiled into machine code before a computer can comprehend it and run your application.

All things considered, programming language paradigms

I’ve been having difficulty understanding a number of terms recently.

I hope you found answers to any queries you had in beginning coding. You should check out my Free Beginning Coding Guide to get started. Please let me know what you think!

That early on, the variety of programming language paradigms might make some jargon feel overwhelming - I understand!

It is true that it takes time to get used to it, but trust me, it does get easier!

Written by Robert Lobo

Robert is an IT specialist who has worked in the computer industry for more than two decades. He has programmed, architected, and is now writing about, computer technology. His niches include networking, cloud, security, and blockchain.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments