Meta Meta Languages and Models

Meta Languages to define Languages and Meta Models to create Models

Meta, Metameta, and Metametameta Languages and Models

The Subject is part of the real world to be described by a Language or modelled by a model.

Meta, Metameta, and Metametameta Languages and Models

The Language or Model is an abstract representation of the real world.

Meta, Metameta, and Metametameta Languages and Models

The Meta Language or Meta Model is used to create languages or models.

Meta, Metameta, and Metametameta Languages and Models

The Metameta Language or Metameta Model is used to create meta languages or meta models.

Meta, Metameta, and Metametameta Languages and Models

The Metameta Language or Metameta Model is used to create meta languages or meta models.

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Concepts

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Language or Model?

Language or Model?

Metametalanguage or Metametamodel?

Different Ways of Writing the Key Terms

Different writers write the key terms this website is concerned with, in different ways. At the higher levels in the pyramid showing how these key concepts relate to each other language and model can be used interchangeably. However, the further up the hierarchy, the term model becomes much less useful, and expressions really need to be linguistics. Hence the term language is more appropriate at the top levels.

In the examples that follow, capitalization has been used for the key words. There is nothing significant about that, and upper- or lower-case initial letters are used.by different writers.

Language

Alternatives for the different levels (with or without initial capitalization) are:

Language

Meta Language

Meta-Language

Metalanguage

Meta Meta Language

Meta-Meta-Language

Metametalanguage

Meta Meta Meta Language

Meta-Meta-Meta Language

Metametametalanguage

Model

Similarly, there are several variants involving the word 'model' (also, with or without initial capitalization):

Model

Meta Model

Meta-Model

Metamodel

Meta Meta Model

Meta-Meta-Model

Metametamodel

Meta Meta Meta Model

Meta-Meta-Meta Model

Metametametamodel.

Dictionaries

The origin of the terms 'metamodel' and 'metametamodel' is not clear. Neither the Oxford English Dictionary (OED, 1991) nor Webster's International Dictionary (Gove, 1986) has an entry for either term. Therefore those terms must be considered recent. The OED does have meta-metalanguage, but Webster does not.

Wikipedia only has the associated term metamodel (which redirects to meta model) as a disambiguation page.

As metamodel has evolved from metalanguage, it is much easier to identify the origins. The OED's discussion of metalanguage includes the observation " Hence ˈmeta-ˈmetaˌlanguage, a language used in the description of another language which is itself a meta-language; the universal linguistic or symbolic system from which a particular metalanguage derives", and proceeds with references to philosophers who have used the term metametalanguage. The OED entry for meta-metalanguage redirects to metalanguage.

Geoffrey Darnton, 2011

References:

Gove, P.B. (1986) Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Springfield MA: Merriam-Webster Inc.

OED (1991) The Compact Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.), Oxford: Clarendon Press.