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With minimal syntax I mean a language that could be entirely described with the least words possible, but complete enough to make any kind of program.

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closed as not a real question by Robert Harvey, ChrisF May 18 '12 at 19:42

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2 Answers

If you want to reduce it as far as possible, it's actually possible to create a Turing-complete language with only one operation in the instruction set.

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Not exactly practical, is it? –  Robert Harvey May 18 '12 at 19:09
He didn't ask for practical, he asked for minimal. –  Mason Wheeler May 18 '12 at 20:01
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Tcl only has 12 rules that govern the whole language, and they fit pretty comfortably on one man page.

I'm not sure how to answer the question about how it is important, other than to say it makes for an (arguably) easy to understand language (though it does require you to forget assumptions you have about how you think a language should work).

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Einstein reportedly said "Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler." I'm inclined to classify Tcl as "simpler" –  comingstorm May 18 '12 at 20:49
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