= I =
INTERCAL /in't*r-kal/ n.
[said by the authors to stand
for `Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym'] A computer
language designed by Don Woods and James Lyons in 1972. INTERCAL
is purposely different from all other computer languages in all
ways but one; it is purely a written language, being totally
unspeakable. An excerpt from the INTERCAL Reference Manual will
make the style of the language clear:
It is a well-known and oft-demonstrated fact that a person whose
work is incomprehensible is held in high esteem. For example, if
one were to state that the simplest way to store a value of 65536
in a 32-bit INTERCAL variable is:
DO :1 <- #0$#256
any sensible programmer would say that that was absurd. Since this
is indeed the simplest method, the programmer would be made to look
foolish in front of his boss, who would of course have happened to
turn up, as bosses are wont to do. The effect would be no less
devastating for the programmer having been correct.
INTERCAL has many other peculiar features designed to make it even
more unspeakable. The Woods-Lyons implementation was actually used
by many (well, at least several) people at Princeton. The language
has been recently reimplemented as C-INTERCAL and is consequently
enjoying an unprecedented level of unpopularity; there is even an
alt.lang.intercal newsgroup devoted to the study and ...
appreciation of the language on Usenet.
Inevitably, INTERCAL has a home page on the Web:
http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/intercal/. An extended version,
implemented in (what else?) Perl and adding object-oriented
features, is available at http://dd-sh.assurdo.com/INTERCAL.
See also Befunge.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.