[TUHS] algebraic syntax (was v7 K&R C)

Doug McIlroy doug at cs.dartmouth.edu
Fri May 22 01:12:02 AEST 2020

> for some years I've been using the phrase "algebraic syntax" to
> characterize languages such as Algol, C/C++, Fortran, Java(Script), Ruby, etc.


> However, I can't find this usage in Wikipedia or elsewhere

I think "Algol-like" is the closest term in common use, though it
doesn't have the exact connotation that I think you intend.

Nowadays, I think of languages like Haskell as being "algebraic"
in the deeper sense of having taken much inspiration from
modern algebra, and being preeminently suitable for application
to algebraic domains.

Vic Vyssotsky used the term "narrative language" as quite
a close synonym of your "algebraic syntax", but I think his
usage was equally idiosyncratic.


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