Of course, whenever the Pumping Lemma for Regular Languages (or CFLs) is applied to a language $L$, only a single string $w \in L$ and $|w| \ge p$ needs to be picked (to eventually show that $w$, when pumped, leaves the language).

Is there a non-regular (or non-context-free) language $L$ for which every string $w \in L$ having $|w| \ge p$ can be used to derive a contradiction?


I'd say the language $L = $ { $0^n1^n | n > 0$ } fits the bill for the Pumping Lemma for Regular Languages. Any substring to be pumped would consist either of all the same symbol, in which case pumping up produces a string with an unequal number of $0$'s and $1$'s, or it contains instances of both symbols, in which case pumping up produces a string with a $1$ followed by a $0$; in neither case is the pumped-up string in $L$.

  • $\begingroup$ Of course, couldn't even remember this example. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Ryan Mar 23 '17 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ And of course $\{0^n 1^n 2^n\;|\;n \ge 0\}$ will work for CF. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Mar 23 '17 at 22:29

I'm not sure if I quite understood the question properly, but:

If a language $L$ is non-regular, then it might be context-free and in this case a contradiction can be provided as you explained for regular languages.

If a language is known to be non-CFL, then I would say there's no point of proving anymore that that language is not context-free. But if you want to do it again for any string $w$ in that language, at least the string must be able to be presented in the form $$w = uvwxy,$$ such that

  • $|vwx| \leq l$, or the middle part of the string between $u$ and $y$ isn't very long
  • $vx \neq \epsilon$, or at least another of the parts to be pumped $v$ and $x$ is not empty
  • $uv^kwx^ky ∈ L$ for every $k ∈ \mathbb{N}$, or we can pump them in balance for an arbitrary amount $k$ and still belong in the language $L$.

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