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Why "symbol's value" error about a list?

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Why "symbol's value" error about a list?
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2018 20:06:39 -0500

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  > For example, suppose you have a Lisp program that produces the
  > following error message when compiled/executed:

  >   Symbol's value as variable is void: 'аbbrevs-changed

Does that error message really happen?  If so, how can I reproduce it?

I understand that the character 'а' is not ASCII a.  That explains why
'аbbrevs-changed' is not known as a variable.  But I'm talking about
a different issue, which has nothing to do with character coding.

Suppose it were 'foobaz', all ASCII, and we got an error such as

  >   Symbol's value as variable is void: 'foobaz

That still seems wrong.

If the error was that foobaz was void, the error message should not
include a quote.  It should say

  >   Symbol's value as variable is void: foobaz

Or if the error was that 'foobaz is used instead of a symbol, the error
message should say

  >   Wrong type argument: symbolp, (quote foobaz)

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See https://stallman.org/skype.html.

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