Definition:Formal Language/Alphabet/Primitive Symbol

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Let $\AA$ be the alphabet of a formal language $\LL$.

The symbols which comprise $\AA$ are called the primitive symbols of $\AA$.

It is usual, during the development of a formal system, to introduce further symbols in order to abbreviate what would otherwise be unwieldy constructions.

Hence the distinction between these newly-introduced symbols and the primitive symbols.

Also known as

Some sources do not bother with the word primitive and instead refer to the elements of $\AA$ just as symbols.

Also see