Subject: Re: Newbie question
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/05/06
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* William Deakin <>
| If you did want to write a CL compiler in C, is there a formal grammar
| (LALR etc) out there somewhere.  I had a look and couldn't find one.

  you won't find one, either.  formal grammars are useful for languages
  that are designed to be unreadable and with constructs designed to be
  impossible to represent at run-time.  Lisp is designed to be readable and
  source code to be representable at run-time, and so have a very different
  way of thinking about its grammar.  considering that all you will ever do
  with a grammar is associate the first element of a list (a symbol) with a
  rule for dealing with the rest of the list, you might as well design the
  whole system using a recursive descent "parser".

  Common Lisp's syntax is designed to be LL(1), and objects are read in
  their entirety before any semantics are associated with them, quite
  unlike languages designed to keep the sources unreadable to programs
  written in those languages.