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January 11, 2010

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If you're going to get into that, you'll need this relic of the early computer age.

The following poem was written collaboratively after readers of "INFOCUS" argued to consensus that the angle-bracket characters should be called "waka"

The text of the poem follows. You'll note that it uses both the "hash" and "number" labels for "#"

<>!*''#
^"`$$-
!*=@$_
%*<>~#4
&[]../
|{,,SYSTEM HALTED

The poem can only be appreciated by reading it aloud, to wit:

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

I very much enjoy your blog, but I had to wince when you called "th" a diphthong. You probably meant to say "digraph" – two letters that represent a single phoneme, in this case, a consonant and, specifically, a voiceless (as in "thin") or voiced (as in "then") dental fricative. A diphthong, on the other hand, is a vowel sound formed from merging two vowel sounds, e.g. the sounds represented by the "y" in "my" or the "a" in "skate" or the "ow" in "cow".

Rawley: Right you are, of course. I lifted "diphthong" from the source material without double-checking, even though I had a nagging sense it was incorrect. I've changed it in the post. Thank you!

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