I've seen a couple of questions which use a language which has the following chracters:


What language is that?


2 Answers 2


Quite possibly BrainF_ck (concerning the spelling), a minimal programing language and a exemplar of the Turing Tar Pit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks - I found this out just before you posted by searching strange programming languages into google :) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2011 at 18:19

Fish and GolfScript are also contenders.... J is also possible. I've seen a lot of GolfScript because it allows for concise manipulation of arrays and such. Fish uses the above characters much more extensively than the others.... and I confess I don't know exactly what distinguishes J syntactically.

I believe that all of them fall into the category of the Turing Tar Pit as described by @dmckee

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since BF is fairly easy to implement, a relatively easy way to show that a language is turing complete is to implement BF. I think the OP is asking about BF, because the other languages you mention here use other characters as well whereas BF uses only those 7 \$\endgroup\$
    – gnibbler
    Aug 15, 2011 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting comment... I hadn't though of such a proof by implementation... I may have to try that this weekend. \$\endgroup\$
    – arrdem
    Aug 16, 2011 at 0:00
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ J is definitely not a turing tar pit, though it looks like one. Turing tar pits tend to have a small number of unhelpful operations with very short names, whereas J has a large number of extremely helpful operations with very short names. (or no names.) Thus the confusion. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2011 at 20:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ gnibbler: BF has eight instructions, but , was not mentioned in the list in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joey
    Aug 24, 2011 at 6:39

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