There are two major types of programming languages. These are Low Level Languages and High Level Languages. Low Level languages are further divided in to Machine language and Assembly language.

Low Level Languages
The term low level means closeness to the way in which the machine has been built. Low level languages are machine oriented and require extensive knowledge of computer hardware and its configuration.
(a) Machine Language
Machine Language is the only language that is directly understood by the computer. It does not needs any translator program. We also call it machine code and it is written as strings of 1’s (one) and 0’s (zero). When this sequence of codes is fed to the computer, it recognizes the codes and converts it in to electrical signals needed to run it. For example, a program instruction may look like this:
1011000111101

It is not an easy language for you to learn because of its difficult to understand. It is efficient for the computer but very inefficient for programmers. It is considered to the first generation language. It is also difficult to debug the program written in this language.

Advantage

The only advantage is that program of machine language run very fast because no translation program is required for the CPU.

Disadvantages

1.It is very difficult to program in machine language. The programmer has to know details of hardware to write program.

2.The programmer has to remember a lot of codes to write a program which results in program errors.

3.It is difficult to debug the program.

(b) Assembly Language

It is the first step to improve the programming structure. You should know that computer can handle numbers and letter. Therefore some combination of letters can be used to substitute for number of machine codes.

The set of symbols and letters forms the Assembly Language and a translator program is required to translate the Assembly Language to machine language. This translator program is called `Assembler’. It is considered to be a second-generation language.

Advantages:

1.The symbolic programming of Assembly Language is easier to understand and saves a lot of time and effort of the programmer.

2.It is easier to correct errors and modify program instructions.

3.Assembly Language has the same efficiency of execution as the machine level language. Because this is one-to-one translator between assembly language program and its corresponding machine language program.

Disadvantages:

1.One of the major disadvantages is that assembly language is machine dependent. A program written for one computer might not run in other computers with different hardware configuration.

HIGH LEVEL LANGUAGES

You know that assembly language and machine level language require deep knowledge of computer hardware where as in higher language you have to know only the instructions in English words and logic of the problem irrespective of the type of computer you are using.

Higher level languages are simple languages that use English and mathematical symbols like +, -, %, / etc. for its program construction.

You should know that any higher level language has to be converted to machine language for the computer to understand.

Higher level languages are problem-oriented languages because the instructions are suitable for solving a particular problem. For example COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) is mostly suitable for business oriented language where there is very little processing and huge output. There are mathematical oriented languages like FORTRAN (Formula Translation) and BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) where very large processing is required.

Thus a problem oriented language designed in such a way that its instruction may be written more like the language of the problem. For example, businessmen use business term and scientists use scientific terms in their respective languages.

Advantages of High Level Languages

Higher level languages have a major advantage over machine and assembly languages that higher level languages are easy to learn and use. It is because that they are similar to the languages used by us in our day to day life.