I recently began looking at languages from a mathematical perspective. From a mathematical perspective a formal language is the widest definition of a language I have found. However, there is a caveat in the wikipedia article:
In computer science and mathematics, which do not usually deal with natural languages, the adjective "formal" is often omitted as redundant.
The key constraint of a formal language is that there is a set (possibly infinite) of words which are "well formed." The above quote indicates that this is not true of natural languages. Is there an example of a language which does not meet this rule?
So far, I assume there are two directions to approach this probme:
- Languages where "well formed-ness" is not a simple true or false binary value
- Languages where the words are a class, not a set.
Unfortunately , I am looking at this from a computer science perspective. In CS, formal languages are king, so I'm finding it difficult to remind myself of characteristics of natural languages which cannot be found in formal languages. I'd appreciate some help!