Micro Code

Michael's blog about teaching, hardware, software and the things in between

Assembler in Latin...

July 16, 2019 — Michael Engel

One of the obscure old computers you have probably never seen is the German Telefunken TR440, a 48 bit machine that came to market in 1970 and was intended to be a competitor for IBM's 360 and 370 series mainframes. Well, that didn't really work out...

While reading through the TR440's assembler manual (TR440 Instruction Set on bitsavers), I noticed that the mnemonics used were mostly abbreviations of German words (though I cannot figure out where "C" for store comes from).

If you look at the mnemonics used for Boolean operations, however, you start to wonder about their origin:

Boolean ops in the TR440

...that is, until you remember your high school Latin... et is probably pretty well-known and means and.

Then you figure out that this choice of mnemonics was pretty ingenious, since Latin -- in contrast to English or German -- has separate words for inclusive or (vel) and exclusive or (aut). Nifty!

Tags: Telefunken, TR440, assembler, latin, mnemonics