Favourite error message of the week

11 Nov 2006


‘Subtitle – Study Programming and Learn New Things About Punctuation

This week, when running a Php script, I got the error message:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ')', expecting T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM

After the “what!” reaction, I looked it up (remember, Google is your friend) and found that PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM is Hebrew for a pair of colons.

It’s very nice that there is a word for a pair of colons (:: is used to access a static element of a class, so it can be used), but I feel that I am rather unlikely to use this term in casual conversation, or even in geeky programming-type conversations. I wonder if developers who have English as a second langauge have similar problems with the more standard and less esoteric error messages.

I’m also reminded, but not in a particularly nice way, of my first job where I wrote code for a Geac 9000 library computer in a language called ZOPL (ZOPL stands for “Version Z, Our Programming Language”). The guy who’d written the ZOPL compiler had obviously been a Pink Floyd fan and some of the error messages reflected this.