I am looking to understand the Chomsky Hierarchy. I've read some textbooks that touch on formal grammars (textbooks on computability, which relate automata to specific sets of formal grammars, notably context-free grammars and regular grammars), but not one that specifically deals with formal grammars as an object.

Is there a good textbook for this?


1 Answer 1


Probably the most-used textbook today is:

  • Hopcroft, Motwani, & Ullman, Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation (3rd edition).

A couple of other common ones are:

  • Sipser, Introduction to the Theory of Computation.
  • Linz, An Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata.

And a couple of older ones:

  • Michael Harrison, Introduction to Formal Language Theory. Many learned from this 1978 classic. Even though it's older, it has the advantage that you can pick up a very inexpensive used copy from online retailers.
  • Thomas Sudkamp, Languages and Machines: An Introduction to the Theory of Computer Science. It's up to the 3rd edition now, but the first edition was my textbook when I was an undergraduate. The exercises are excellent, but it's light on examples.

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