In programming, an error occuring when the compiler can not parse some code, or, to put it another way, when a compiler thinks the code has improper syntax. Usually this is the result of a typo, such as a missing a semicolon in C.

For example, in C: int x = ; is a syntax error since the compiler sees an =, but no value for it to refer to.

Not to be confused with semantic errors which do not occur during parsing.

The following is a poem by Hannu Glad. It's written in traditional Finnish epic poetry style (as found in Kalevala).

The poem has been widely circulated in Finland (usually unattributed), and has become sort of a part of Finnish net experience. I hope the author doesn't mind me posting it here. =) Some versions of it also adds one more stanza that I could not find right now.

Translation by yours truly.

Syntax error

by Hannu Glad (Kuhmo) 1999-02-01

Kirjoittamaan käyessäni,
ruvetessani runolle,
haikullepa hankkeissani,
tankan tuottoon tahtoessa
tilttasi tehopelini,
kompuutterini kärähti,
näytänohjainta närästi,
empi myös emolevyni.

Jopa mustui miehen muoto,
kävi kasvot kalvakaksi,
käsitteli kännykkäänsä,
apuvoimia aneli.

Saapui huolto huomenissa,
kannen alle kurkisteli.
Kotvasen konetta tutki,
sitten loihe lausumahan:

"Myy jo myllysi museoon,
kuljettele kierrätykseen
ikäkulu ihmehesi,
reporanka rakkineesi -
ei tule kalua tästä!"

Kotvan kaivoin kupehetta,
kurkistelin kukkaroa,
laskeskelin lanttejani,
etsiskelin eurojani,
enkä löytänyt mitänä.

Petollinen pentiumi,
vanha mikroni mitätön
teki tempun tietäjälle,
rumat runon rustaajalle.

Vaan on vielä vanha konsti:
onhan pännä ja paperi!


by Urpo Lankinen (formerly from Kuhmo and currently living in Oulu), 2002-01-10

Upon beginning to write,
starting to produce poetry
having haikus to make more
taking tanka to the paper,
blew up my powerful box
computer my crashed, truly
graphic card was gone forever
mother board was mostly useless.

So did change man's manners
lost the color from his cheeks;
handled he the handy phone,
begging people to arrive.

At dawn the field men came
peeked beneath the covering metal.
Examined the end-met thing,
then spoke he with some sorrow:

"Sell your grinder to museum
carry it to recycling center
this age-old wonder box fair,
boldly gone rotten box -
it shall not work, not ever!"

For a while I dug my pocket
peeked in the pouch of mine
Counted my clinking coins
Enumerated Euros mine
and could not found any.

Treacherous this Pentium,
old micro mostly useless
dirty tricks did it to wise one,
badly treated poem scribbler.

But I still have that old way:
I have pen and the paper!

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