There is a difference between spelling a word and saying a
word.  In normal communication  we  do  not  ess-pee-ee-ell-ell
words.   Likewise  we  do  not  normally pronounce punctuation.
(Period.)  Sometimes it is  necessary  to  spell  for  complete
understanding   but  comprehension  is  generally  easier  when
natural language is spoken.

     A language may also have special signs & symbols which are
normally  "said",  e.g.,  "&"  and  "#" are normally pronounced
"and" & "number".  Spelling often has very little  relationship
to  the  pronunciation,  e.g.,  "lb"  is  "pound"  &  "cwt"  is

     Forth is

     "a language of natural English words and signs using
     machine  oriented  syntax for command and control of

     The  so-called  natural pronunciation of Forth words given
in the Forth-79 and  Forth-83  standard  documents  are  mostly
spellings.  Experience has shown that Forth programs are easier
to teach and understand when natural English words are used for
the special signs.

     An obvious example of this is "#".  The standard documents
give  "sharp"  as  its natural pronunciation.  This is patently
wrong.  The musical sharp sign is similar to it but  different.
The semantics of all occurrences of "#" in standard Forth words
are connected with numbers.  "#" should be  said  "number"  and
spelled "number-sign".

     The standard specification of "@" is "value at <address>".
It makes more sense to say "value" than "fetch"  when  we  read
it.   Likewise  "!"  reads  better  as "set", which is what the
function is called in other high-level  languages.   E.g.,  the
body of the definition of "DEFINITIONS"

          CURRENT @ CONTEXT !

reads naturally as

          current value context set

This says What it does, not How it does it.  This  agrees  with
the  Forth-83  standard document, which says that "descriptive"
names are to be preferred to "procedural" names (section 4).

     Reflection leads to "add"  as  the  meaning  of  "+!".   A
fragment of code

          0 #LINE !   1 #PAGE +!

reads naturally as

          zero number-line set   one number-page add

     The so-called natural pronunciation of the apostrophe  "'"
is   given   as  "tick"  in  the  Forth-83  standard  document,
ignoring  descriptive and procedural names.  A better word  for
this is "address".  This also works well in compounds: from the
Perry Line-Editor read



     address-start  address-line  address-cursor  address-find

     "compile-time-address"  is a better name for  "[']".   In
general say "compile-time-name" for "[name]".

     The function  of  the  dot  or  period  "."  in  Forth  is
"display".   The  Forth  word  spelled  "dot-quote"  is used to
display a message; the Forth word spelled "ABORT-quote" is used
to abort with a message.  They should be said "display-message"
and "abort-message", which are perfect descriptions.

     Forth has three  common  conventions  for  names  within

     "(name)" is the default value of a vectored word.  E.g.,

          (CR)   (KEY)

     "(name)" is used by "name".  E.g.,


     "(name)" is compiled by "name".  E.g.,

          (.")   (ABORT")   (LOOP)

     Notice that the third case is a subset of the second.

     All these uses can be covered by "primitive".

     (CR)          primitive CR
     (KEY)         primitive key
     (.)           primitive display
     (.")          primitive display message
     (ABORT")      primitive abort message
     (LOOP)        primitive loop

     ","  is  used to lay down values in the dictionary, and we
say "lay" or "lay down" or "build" for this function.

     Just  as  Forth  is  said  to  have  been  discovered, not
invented, so the foregoing words were discovered in  the  order
given.  Having come so far, we would like to go the rest of the

     "[" is used to initiate interpretation, but "INTERPRET" is
a word in the controlled word-set.  We pronounce it "evaluate".

     A stumbling stone in  learning  Forth  is  the  difference
between "]", "COMPILE", and "[COMPILE]".

     If  we  think  of  "]"  as  "construct"  we  have a way to
distinquish "]" from the other two.  "COMPILE" will "compile" a
defined word into the dictionary;   "]"  will  do  whatever  is
necessary  to  "construct"  the  dictionary,  including defined
words, literal values, logical structures, and anything else.

   "[COMPILE]"  is  "compile-time  compile",  which  accurately
describes  what it does, compile the next word as a single word
at compile-time, not run-time.

     Some examples to show how this hangs together.

     : ASCII  ( -- c ) BL WORD COUNT 1- ABORT" ?"

     "Define   ASCII  BL  word  count  one-minus  abort-message
question-mark  state   value   if  compile-time-compile literal
then.  Immediate."

     Note that punctuation  was  not  pronounced.   Punctuation
can be spelled when necessary for comprehension.

     From  the  preceding  paragraph  we  see how "(" should be
pronounced, i.e., "note".  Likewise ".(" is "display-note".

     From an integer-ascii conversion definition:

     ... [ ASCII A 10 - ] LITERAL ...

     "... evaluate ascii A 10 minus construct literal ..."

     The prefix "C" is  used  in  Forth  to  show  byte-related
operations.   Just  as  "cwt"  is pronounced "hundredweight" so
"C@", "C!",  and  "C,"  have  the  pronunciation  "byte-value",
"byte-set", and "byte-lay(down)".

     How about "possibly" or "maybe" for the question mark when
it is part of a word, e.g., "maybe DUP" for "?DUP" ?

     We  can say "define" for ":" as we did above.  The ";" can
be silent punctuation, or we can use the  Eastern  "already" or
Western  "y'know"  until some-one has a better suggestion.

     Here  is  a  summary of the suggested pronunciations.  Can
you think of any others?

     #               number
     @               value
     !               set
     +!              add
     '               address
     [']             compile-time address
     .               display
     ."              display message
     ABORT"          abort message
     (name)          primitive name
     ,               lay down, or lay
     [               evaluate
     ]               construct
     [COMPILE]       compile-time compile
     (               note
     .(              display note
     ?...            maybe ..., or possibly ...
     :               define
     ;               already, or y'know.

projects/english_as_a_second_language_for_forth_programmers.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2013-06-06 21:27 von