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meta- +‎ language


metalanguage ‎(countable and uncountable, plural metalanguages)

  1. (linguistics, translation studies, critical theory) Any language or vocabulary of specialized terms used to describe or analyze a language or linguistic process.
    • 2005, Michael Cronin, Training for the New Millennium: Pedagogies for translation and interpreting, edited by Martha Tennent, Benjamins Translation Library, p. 255:
      In order to talk or theorise about phenomena, one inevitably uses a language that is in effect a metalanguage, a special instance of language that allows the theorist to stand back and describe what is happening.
  2. (computing) Any similar language used to define a programming language.


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