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Re: did the abbrev mechanism ever expand «two words» to «two different w

From: Robert Pluim
Subject: Re: did the abbrev mechanism ever expand «two words» to «two different words».
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2021 19:05:11 +0100

Uwe Brauer <oub@mat.ucm.es> writes:

> Right, thanks, however good and bad news.
> I am using 
> (define-abbrev-table 'fundamental-mode-abbrev-table
>   '(
>     ("a que" "a qué" nil :count 0)
>     ("asi" "así" nil :count 0))
>   "Uwe's table"
>   :regexp "\\(\\w+ \\w+\\)")
>     1. It works in the sense that "a que" is expanded to "a qué"
>     2. But now asi is *not* expanded to así
> The reasons seems to me that what you did is globally for the whole
> table, while I hoped it could be done locally for each entry.

Thatʼs not the way abbrev tables work: the regexp answers the question
"which characters before point do I use to lookup abbrevs in this
table?". That can't be both two words separated by a space and a
single word at the same time, ie using

"\\(\\w+ \\w+\\)\\|\\(w+\\)

will fail, since that will match the 'two word' version if thereʼs a
space on the line, so in order to get what you want you need two
abbrev tables:

    (define-abbrev-table 'fundamental-mode-abbrev-table
        ("asi" "así" nil :count 0)))

    (define-abbrev-table 'my-abbrev-table
        ("a que" "a qué" nil :count 0))
      "Uwe's table"
      :regexp "\\(\\w+ \\w+\\)")
    (setq local-abbrev-table (list my-abbrev-table 

(thereʼs a ':parents' property you can set on an abbrev table to achieve
the same thing, in theory, but I donʼt know how that interacts with


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