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RE: Wikipedia on XML

  • From: rjelliffe@allette.com.au
  • To: "Michael Kay" <mike@saxonica.com>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 20:10:49 +1000 (EST)

RE:  Wikipedia on XML
>> > A language for describing the syntax of another language?
>> Despite the L in XML, syntax alone does not constitute a language.
> Agreed.
>> It's only a language if there are words. XML doesn't define
>> words.

It is a language because it has a grammar. And it is a language because it
gives that grammar semantics: the start and end-tag and the contents form
an element; the numerical character reference is interpreted as a
charaacter and so on. A thin language perhaps.

So it is a language even before we consider its use as a meta-language.

The question of if it a language is bogus unless you say which area of
discourse you are using, in any case. If people mean language in the
formal CS/Chomsky usage, then it certainly is, because a formal language
is a set of words or string. If people mean language in some sense of it
being how humans communicate, then good luck to us all in deciding what is
in and out.

Rick Jelliffe

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