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I mean descend as in languages who's original compiler/interpreter was written in C or in a language that descends from C.

If you don't count assembly, the only thing that comes to my mind is B. Are there any others?

closed as off-topic by Arseni Mourzenko, Doc Brown, gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, gbjbaanb Jan 14 '15 at 11:15

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    googling for 'history of programming languages' can easily find lots of examples – Michael Shaw Jan 14 '15 at 6:23
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    possible duplicate of Is every language written in C? – toniedzwiedz Jan 14 '15 at 6:25
  • It might almost be more sensible to ask whether there are any languages that do: the number, and even the overall impact on the world, are arguably smaller with the latter formulation than the original. – Nathan Tuggy Jan 14 '15 at 7:00
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a poll, and polls don't fit well to the Q&A format of this site. – Doc Brown Jan 14 '15 at 7:24
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    Trivially, all languages that are older than C (including but not limited to Fortran, Cobol, Lisp, Algol, Pascal, CPL, BCPL, Smalltalk, Mesa, BLISS, MUMPS, Forth) cannot possibly descend from it, unless you know something about physics that we don't. The whole Lisp family (including those that were created after C, like CommonLisp, Arc, Clojure) is completely unrelated. All the Wirthian languages (Pascal, Modula, Modula-2, Oberon, Oberon-2, Object Oberon, Active Oberon, Component Pascal) have nothing to do with C. The Smalltalk family (Smalltalk, Self, Korz, Newspeak) is unrelated. – Jörg W Mittag Jan 14 '15 at 13:23
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Don't forget Algol, which has been called a vast improvement over most of its imitators, including C.

Both COBOL and FORTRAN came long before C. I've seen a COBOL compiler written in RPG.

It's not unusual for a language's first compiler to be written in that language. The first compilation can be done by hand, and the first thing compiled with the hand-compiled compiler is the very same source code that was just hand-compiled. And the first thing compiled with that first machine-compiled compiler is the same source file yet again. If the hand-built compiler and the self-compiled compiler produce exactly the same output from this same source file, you know the compiler works "well enough", and the hand-compiled compiler can be thrown away.

Notice that the hand-built compiler doesn't need to produce efficient code or produce it efficiently. In fact, it doesn't even need to compile any feature of the language that the compiler itself doesn't use. That makes it feasible to bootstrap even "large" languages this way.

Forth might be considered to have been written this way. There is only a tiny part of the Forth runtime that needs to be written in Assembler, and everything else can be written in Forth itself.

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In addition to Lisp, Smalltalk, Forth, COBOL, and FORTRAN mentioned by others, there's Pascal, Modula, Fortran, PL/I, BASIC, Snobol, and APL, to name some of the more popular languages that were neither descended from nor implemented in C. Early languages were implemented or bootstrapped in assembler.

Here's a small family tree of programming languages.

Also see Wikipedia: early programming languages and Establishing fundamental paradigms.

  • I wonder what "Internet C++" is in that family tree. – SHODAN Jan 14 '15 at 7:24
  • @SHODAN SourceForge says "Internet C++/Internet Virtual Machine is a high-speed, open-source alternative to Java and .NET" but then the project is gone. It's strange that it was included in this modest sized diagram. – Jerry101 Jan 14 '15 at 7:30
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Lisp and Smalltalk are good examples of such languages who were not descended from C. There was also a programming language named BCPL before C which isn't in use nowadays.

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