What does parce really mean? I came across it 30 years ago when programming industrial controls. After completing a set of instructions in some user language, you'd give a command to load it, and a blinking box would say, "parsing." I understood it to be evaluating what I'd written and giving instructions which the machine could understand. I snatched it into my vocabulary as a general use term, perhaps incorrectly.

Only recently have I learned it's used to describe what we did in grammar school. What does it really mean to a grammarian? Is it the act of deciding what the syntax is, or assigning names to the various words in the sentence, or translating it into some universal language?

Do you think my old industrial machine meant it was reading (understanding) my commands, or writing new commands in machine language (compiling) or both?

The wrord 'parse' is derived from Latin for 'part'.

My Oxford Dictionary indicates it can have both of the meanings that you describe. ie

1. Analyze a sentence and understand its meaning, by breaking it into its individual components and describing them.

2. In computing terminology, analyze a string into syntactic components. In other words, figure out if you wrote the commands correctly, and what you want the computer to do. That's the exsence of compiling, isn't it? Craeting machine code is just a result of that, really.

When you think about it, they are really similar meanings, aren't they?Emotion: smile

Best wishes, Clive
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Parse and compile are used differently in the computer industry.
You compile a program (human readable) and turn it into executable codes (machine readable). The computer then run the executable codes for performing certain functions.
Parsing is normally used when processing documents with well-defined structures, such as XML (extensible markup language) or HTML (the markup language used for the web). Your browser has a parser built into it. The output is often a document in another format (the page you actually see on screen in the case of a web browser), or a set of instructions or information used for further processing.
Thanks Clive and Petr! Yes, we understand each other. - A.