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[met-uh-lang-gwij] /ˈmɛt əˌlæŋ gwɪdʒ/
any language or symbolic system used to discuss, describe, or analyze another language or symbolic system.
1935-40; meta- + language Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for metalanguage
  • The teachers also seem to believe that metalanguage should be used for learners of all proficiency levels.
  • metalanguage, for example, is a language used to describe another language.
  • The case appears to be that learners learn language as one thing and metalanguage as another.
  • The teaching method relied heavily on explicit instruction and essential metalanguage.
  • The report illustrates a symbolic metalanguage that was developed to describe and compare the search arguments.
British Dictionary definitions for metalanguage


a language or system of symbols used to discuss another language or system See also formal language, natural language Compare object language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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metalanguage in Technology

1. [theorem proving] A language in which proofs are manipulated and tactics are programmed, as opposed to the logic itself (the "object language"). The first ML was the metalanguage for the Edinburgh LCF proof assistant.
2. [logic] A language in which to discuss the truth of statements in another language.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for metalanguage

in semantics and philosophy, language used for the analysis of object language (language that is used to talk about objects in the world). Thus, a metalanguage may be thought of as a language about another language. Such philosophers as the German-born Logical Positivist Rudolf Carnap and Alfred Tarski, Polish-born mathematician, argued that philosophical problems and philosophical statements can be resolved only when seen in terms of a syntactical framework. The logic of semantics is what determines the truth of a statement, rather than the statement's nonformal, or actual, meaning. Carnap felt that by making use of symbolic notation in a metalanguage and by adhering to rules of logic it was possible to avoid metaphysical judgments, which, in his system, were by definition invalid.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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