First, Second, Third, Fourth Generation Computer Languages

First generation Language

Machine Code:


Second Generation Language for Low-Level, Stored programs

Assembly Language which requires an Assembler (Translator):


Third (& Fourth) Generation Languages for High-Level, Stored programs

FORTRAN (1957): a great formulaic language for scientists and engineers. Developed at IBM using Assembly language over many man years.

BASIC (1964): a great, simpler form of FORTRAN, for schools, colleges and small - medium sized businesses.

COBOL (1960): a great language for governments and medium - large businesses, for Payrolls, Debtors, Audits etc.


C (1972), based on FORTRAN, and C++ (1983): Two great languages to build

With C and C++, the individual commands that build entirely new language commands are then passed through its own interpreter, along with an associated library of changing templates (classes), and other files.


JAVA (1995): A great example of a new language and its libraries, initially created through a C++ compiler.


C# (2002): Microsoft's most popular latest language and its libraries, that were initially created through a specialized Microsoft C compiler.


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