Subject: Re: Why learn Lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 28 Aug 2002 16:10:10 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Dorai Sitaram
| I think the Lisp syntax is plenty readable myself, but I also don't think
| its syntax is really as terribly minimal as it could be.

  Some years ago, I spent considerable time playing with the reader in order
  to learn how it worked and how much I could change it without removing the
  Lisp feel.  I modified the list reader to post-process them such that, e.g.,
  `(x <- y)´ and `(y -> x)´ would transform to `(setf x y)´, reintroduced the
  `=>´ from Scheme's `cond´ to pass the value of the conditional to the body,
  got rid of `aref´ with `[array index ...]´ and sundry other minor changes.
  Most of these were dead ends, but I still kind of like the infix -> and <-.
  (It looks even better with an assortment of Unicode arrows.)

| If Lisp keywords were not written as words fashioned from an alphabet but as
| dedicated symbols (say as Japanese kanji), with all other words being
| alphabet-based, then the wrench of going from C to Lisp may not be felt as
| much.

  You can do an amazing amount of syntactic harm with Unicode.  I have all
  sorts of cute symbols available on my keyboard, now.  Real less-than-or-equal
  signs, open and filled triangles for brackets and bullets and open and filled
  circles and squares for bullets, and a little greek and, um.  Syntactic harm.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.