Primitive Patterns and Functions

The following primitive functions and variables (which are implicitly set when the program begins) return or contain values which are patterns. These may be used as a pattern in a statement or assigned to variables. More complex patterns may be built up from these primitives using concatenation and alternation operators. Any of the pattern functions can be redefined by the user. Since the pattern primitives are variables, the user can change their meaning by assigning something else to them. To obtain the original pattern primitive value, there is a keyword (variable starting with an &) which always contains the original pattern primitive value.

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