Programming Languages from All Over the World

Are all programming languages written in English? This is a short entry about finding languages in the wild.

My big sister, as caring as always, asks about my learning in Ruby and software development. In response, I tell her that after a long day of learning, I sometimes forget how to speak in English, and I come off as a blubbering fool. #storyofmylife.

Then, I thought, the ruby language is written and developed in English. And so is Javascript, HTML5, CSS3, and many others. Are all programming languages written in English? Are there any non-English based programming languages?

But first of all, what is a programming language? A programming language is a formal computer language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs to control the behavior of a machine or to express algorithms, says my best friend, Wiki.

So with the help with my good ol’ friend of mine, Google, I searched for programming languages in different languages…and they exist in the wild! Here is a sample list of non-English languages:

Linotte — an interpreted 4th generation programming language with French syntax. Inspired by Basic, Logo, and Java languages, Linotte was designed for easy mechanisms and logics of programming with little mathematical or technical notion.

A code snippet written in Linotte.

4D — also known as 4th dimension or Silver Surfer, is a relational database management system and IDE written in German, was developed by Laurent Ribardière in 1984. The 4D product line has since expanded to a SQL back-end, integrated compiler, integration of PHP, and all other good stuff that I am not familiar with yet. Today, it is published by French company 4D SAS, and is released in a dozen languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Korean and Persian.

Nadeshiko, なでしこ — a Japanese programming language. It is a development environment tool that allows you to create programs that are easy to understand and use in Japanese.


幅は100。高さは170。 #白鍵(7)と白鍵+黒鍵(12)の最小公倍数=84*2+2
The final output from a snippet code from above in Nadeshiko.

Ezhil — an open source, interpreted programming language written in Tamil language script (எழில்), and influenced by languages like Logo, BASIC, and Python. It was designed in 2013 by Muthiah Annamalai, a developer who wanted to enable native-Tamil speaking K-12 students to learn computer programming. Here is a code snippet that outputs “Hello World!” in Ezhil.

# தமிழில் ஒரு எடுத்துக்காட்டு 

பதிப்பி "வணக்கம்!"
பதிப்பி "உலகே வணக்கம்"
பதிப்பி "******* நன்றி!. *******"

丙正正 — Chinese C++

ΓΛΩΣΣΑ — a Greek programming language, inspired by Pascal, to teach programming in secondary education schools.

Fjölnir — an programming language written in Icelandic. Fjölnir was developed by professor Snorri Agnarsson of computer science at Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland) that was mostly used in the 1980s. the source files have extensions like fjo or sma. Here is a code snippet that outputs “Hello World!” in Icelandic.

;; Hello world in Fjölnir

"hello" < main
main ->
skrifastreng(;"Hello, world!"),

Why are these languages written in English? According to the History of Programming Languages (HOPL) online database of languages, about a third of all programming languages were developed in a country with English as a primary language. Roughly 2,400 out of 8,500+ programming languages were developed in the United States, about 600 in United Kingdom, 150 in Canada, and 75 in Australia.

But, of course, not all great languages were created in English-speaking countries. For example, Python was developed in the Netherlands, Ruby from Japan, and Lua from brazil. They were designed in English to attract for internal usage.

By the way, check out my awesome friend’s blog post on RDMS, it’s pure gold.