guide to programming language

Types and Generations of the Programming Language in Computer

What is a Programming Language?

The language which is used to create programs is called a programming language. It is a computer language with its own syntax and semantics which applies to write programs. This language comprises a set of instructions which are used to produce various kind of output.

The major types and generations of programming language are:

  • Machine level language or First-generation language (the mid – 1940’s)
  • Assembly level language or Second-generation language (1950’s to 1958’s)
  • High-level language or Third-generation language (1958’s to 1985’s)
  • Fourth-generation language (1985’s to till now)

Machine level language (the mid-1940’s)programming language of machine level language

The first-generation of language is machine level language. Similarly, it is also a low-level language. This language is written using binary codes (1’s and 0’s) and unique to each computer. It is very difficult to understand by us or humans. Where it is a computer understandable language. Some advantages and disadvantages of this language as follows:


  • Faster in execution. So, it has a high efficiency.
  • The translator is not necessary to convert the language.
  • There is high security maintain due to the control of the hardware component.


  • This language is machine-dependent.
  • Also, it is difficult to program.
  • Similarly, it is time-consuming and expensive.

Assembly level language (1950’s to 1958’s)

It is a second-generation programming language or it is also a low-level language. The required language translator program in assembler. Where assembler is used to convert assembly level language into machine level language i.e. source program into an object program. Frequently called symbolic language. It is operated with the mnemonics and its parameter. Some advantages and disadvantages of this language as follows:


  • This language is easy to program and understand.
  • Also, easy to modify errors and mistakes.
  • Similarly, it is easy to translate the language into machine language.


  • Machine dependent.
  • Time-consuming due to translating.
  • The translator is necessary to translate the program into machine code.

High-level language (3GL) – 1958’s to 1985’s

It is a third-generation programming language or procedural language. And, also a structural oriented language and functional language. A used translator is a compiler or interpreter. Some advantages and disadvantages of this language as follows:


  • It is machine independent (portability).
  • Easy to learn and use (reliability).
  • Better communication.


  • It has less efficiency.
  • The translator is necessary to translate languages.
  • Conversion time is slower than assembly level language.

Fourth-generation language (4GL) – 1985’s to till now

Fourth-generation language (4GL) is more non-procedural, object-oriented, and conversational than prior language. It is also a non-structural programming language. It can be employed directly by the end-user or less skilled programmer to develop computer applications more rapidly than the conventional programming language. Some advantages and disadvantages of this language as follows:


  • Fourth-generation language (4GL) is friendly for users.
  • This language is easy to develop programs.


  • Programs run slower because it is heavy in size and design.
  • Required a long time to convert into machine code.

Difference between third-generation language (3GL) and fourth-generation language (4GL)

It stands for third-generation language. It stands for fourth-generation language.
The stepwise instructions are written. Requirement oriented instruction is written.
Difficult to learn. Easy to learn.
Difficult to debugging. Easy to be debugging.
Typically file oriented. Typically, database-oriented.
Requires specification of how to perform the task. Requires specification of what task is to be performed.
For e.g. programming in C. Structured query language (SQL).

For offline read download pdf file Programming Languages

2 thoughts on “Types and Generations of the Programming Language in Computer”

  1. Madeline Minning

    This web site definitely has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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