A very intelligent, borderline wise friend who had to re-learn to speak
after severe cancer therapy has a lot of trouble with some words; he
refers to mounted fighters as "calvary", and, surely enough, he's learning
not to say "Modzilla". He's one of those who had no trouble reading that
sample text fairly recently, which was passed around the Internet, that
was composed of words with correct initial and final letters but with
inner letters scrambled. (It distressed me terribly...)

Re definitions and pronunciations of geek language, as well as a very
witty introduction to their subculture (superculture?), one truly classic
work is The Jargon File:
<http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/> (Preferred URL, essentially sure;
there are others. Check version numbers.)

Warning: Potential time sink! Can sometimes be extremely funny. It used to
have a marvelous collection of single-syllable pronunciations of printable
characters (e.g. [!] is "bang", the four-leaved-clover-like mac symbol is
"splat", and much else.) I don't know Danish, but [&] was said to be
"Anders And", apparently the .dk equiv. of Donald Duck. Of course, the
latter is polysyllabic. While there's considerable humor in these Victor
Borge forms, they also fill a real need, when programmers and sysadmins
need to speak what they read.

To show why single-syllable forms are needed, here's a sample U*ix script
-- Don't try to run it. It was provided to responsible people. I've
intentionally corrupted it by adding a few space codes, spam style, just
to be safe. (No, I don't understand more than 3% of it , or so.)

# kill all processes owned by the current user, starting with the newest:
ps ux | se d -e 's/^US ER.*//' -e "s/^${USE R} *//" -e 's/ *\(\d\) /\1/'
-e 's/ [0- 9]\.[0 -9].*//' | so rt -nr | xar gs kill

ESR is Eric S. Raymond, famed Open Source philosopher and author. Quite a

[Authoritative commentary on the pron. of GIF:]

<http://www.olsenhome.com/gif/> Affricate G is correct. (I didn't know the
word "affricate" until reading Eric Macki's commentary, cited below.)

Read the left column, first, I'd suggest. Then steel yourself for some
horrid anti-Mac comments at the beginning of the right column, but don't
give up. You could simply skip that guy's comments and not lose anything.
Scroll down to find real Qalamian (Qalamish?) language, by Eric J. Macki
-- "morphophonology", "velar", etc.

Part of the geek culture is to never spell out "Unix"; always substitute
at least one [*]. This is a continuing protest against some confiscatory
licensing policies of some time ago that have probably faded into history
with the popularity of Linux. Even SCO's black star (black hole?) is on
the wane.

=== [Macs]

Btw, as to Macs, I like them; opened up a few street discards (pity!) and
discovered very-nicely-engineered innards. What with OS X*, they have put
quite a nice wrapper around Un*x, which is largely a Good Thing. It's for
good reason that creative people use Macs. They do believe in pricing to
cover the periodic hiccups (hiccoughs) that Apple management has, from
time to time. *spoken as letter X, or "Ten", btw? I'm really ignorant!

Nevertheless, once my Amiga 1000 became historic*, Wintel/x86 machines
were much more common, and much easier to obtain, than good used Macs. (I
wouldn't refuse a used, fairly-up-to-date Mac, one that could run OS X!)
*in some senses; dedicated hardware takes care of the mouse pointer,
something that even (afaik) Win XP machines don't yet do) (I still have it
and its peripherals.)

Happy New Year, folks!

Nicholas Bodley /*|*\ Waltham, Mass.
The curious hermit -- autodidact and polymath
Using Opera 8 public beta 1