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  ANSI Common Lisp   2 Syntax

2.2 Reader Algorithm

This section describes the algorithm used by the Lisp reader to parse objects from an input character stream, including how the Lisp reader processes macro characters.

When dealing with tokens, the reader's basic function is to distinguish representations of symbols from those of numbers. When a token is accumulated, it is assumed to represent a number if it satisfies the syntax for numbers listed in Figure 2.3.1 Numbers as Tokens. If it does not represent a number, it is then assumed to be a potential number if it satisfies the rules governing the syntax for a potential number. If a valid token is neither a representation of a number nor a potential number, it represents a symbol.

The algorithm performed by the Lisp reader is as follows:

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