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      Scheme sounds like it’s pretty close to what the author is describing. It’s a very small and simple core that you can build on, and even create mini languages on top of. The macro system allows you to pretty much express any idea without having to change the core language. As a bonus the runtime is interactive allowing you to explore ideas and see the results immediately.

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      I took a class in college where we worked with Featherweight Java, a “little language” of sorts. In their words,

      Our main goal in designing FJ was to make a proof of type soundness (“well- typed programs do not get stuck”) as concise as possible, while still capturing the essence of the soundness argument for the full Java language.

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      For those interested there will be a developer room for minimalistic languages at next FOSDEM.

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      Does IO count as a Little Language? It has some use outside of being a toy language, but it’s extremely simple and transparent.

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        I’m not sure. I don’t have a solid idea myself of what is and isn’t a litte language in the sense of that post. What I was thinking is that the smallness of the language should be intended to optimize the language as a tool for learning. So not all small languages fall into this category just by virtue of their smallness.