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2.1. Some fundamentals

Here is where we start to look in detail at the bits that the last chapter chose to sweep under the carpet while it did its ‘Instant C’ introduction. The problem is, of course, the usual one of trying to introduce enough of the language to let you get a feel for what it's all about, without drowning beginners in a froth of detail that isn't essential at the time.

Because this is a lengthy chapter, and because it deliberately chooses to cover some subtle problems that are often missed out in introductory texts, you should make sure that you are in the right mood and proper frame of mind to read it.

The weary brain may find that the breaks for exercises are useful. We strongly recommend that you do actually attempt the exercises on the way through. They help to balance the weight of information, which otherwise turns into an indigestible lump.

It's time to introduce some of the fundamentals.