Knowing Programming versus Knowing Programming Language There’s a big difference between knowing how to program compared to knowing a specific programming language. This book describes how programming works, which means you’ll understand the principles behind programming no matter what programming language you decide to use. When you understand a specific programming language, you’ll figure out how to write a program using that language. Don’t confuse knowing how to program with knowing a programming language! When people learn to speak their native language, they often think their particular spoken language is the only way to talk.


So when they learn a foreign language, they try to speak the foreign language just like they speak their native language, but using different words. That’s why literal translations of foreign languages can sound so funny and awkward to a native speaker. That’s exactly the same problem with understanding programming. To understand programming, you have to use a specific programming language, but each programming language works a certain way.


So if you know how write programs in the C programming language, you might mistakenly think that the way the C language works is the way computer programming also works, but that’s not true. Like human languages, programming languages differ wildly. Someone who knows how to write programs in the C language thinks differently about programming than someone who knows how to write programs in assembly language.