Disadvantages of high-level languages include slower speed, slower compiler time and more limited access to lower-level computer functionalities. A high-level language is a computer programming or software language that more closely resembles human speech or conceptualizing.
The lowest-level computer language is binary, a collection made up solely of zeros and ones, into which all programs are ultimately compiled. Because humans do not speak or think in binary, higher-level languages have been developed to make programming simpler. Some examples of high-level languages include C/C++, Basic, Pascal, Fortran, Java, HTML and LISP.
In addition, some computer programs function as high-level languages even though they are not marketed as such. For example, computer spreadsheets, such as Excel, function as versatile high-level programming languages that enable rapid program creation even by those with no computer programming experience, arguably making the spreadsheet one of the highest-level languages created to date.
Some programming languages are so advanced that they allow the program to modify itself while running. LISP is an example of such a language.
Because high-level languages cannot run directly on a computer, they must first be compiled or translated, ultimately into binary code, prior to execution. This compilation or translation can occur once after program creation or every time the program in run. In either case, time is required for the compilation or translation, and this slows execution time for the program.