When Does a Framework Become a Language?

A friend of mine posed this question a few days ago: at what point does a framework become ubiquitous enough to be a language on its own?

This came after a brief discussion about jQuery, where the point was made that we hardly ever use traditional, raw Javascript anymore. We use jQuery to write the core of our applications,  jQuery to do UI effects, jQuery for validation. We hardly ever even use the word Javascript. But, the question he posed is, is jQuery the same thing as Javascript? Is it different enough to be considered something else, or should it just be considered a framework – the same way .NET is a framework to C#, or Rails is a framework to Ruby?

Our conversation came down to semantics. The same way we (or at least I) call tissues not by tissues, but by Kleenex, or the way Texans call soda “Coke”, and although jQuery does not (in a technical sense) replace   Javascript (rather, extending it), perhaps it is simply cognitive recognition that presses us to call anything Javascript related jQuery. Someday, will everyone call Javascript by jQuery? It very well could be.  We’re still not calling it ECMAScript.

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