Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, April 4, 2008

waka waka

"waka waka" is a computer technology poem I've used since 1993, the year I created CyberEnglish. It is great fun. This poem appeared in the May/June 1990 issue of Infocus magazine and has since been floating around the net. The original authors were Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese of Calvin College & Seminary of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A poll conducted among Infocus readers had established "waka" as the proper pronunciation for the angle-bracket characters <>, though some readers held out resolutely for "norkies." (source unknown)

The poem is made up by using the keys on the computer keyboard. Each symbol has a unique name.

Here is the poem, can you read it?


< > ! * ' ' #
^ " ` $ $ --
! * = @ $ _
% * < > ~ # 4
& [ ] . . /
| { , , SYSTEM HALTED



Here is the translation of the poem, "waka waka." There are many different versions. I have made a few modifications for poetic reasons and based on my own knowledge of these keys.

Waka waka bang star tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang star equal at dollar under-score,
Percent star waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Pipes curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

hear it

This is a simple poem about life. We are born, "bang" and begin life, a "star" breathing, "tick tick." Then we make money, "dollar underscore" get married, "bang star equal" and perhaps have four children, "star..number four." We get old, "bracket bracket."We stutter "dot dot." We cough "comma comma" and die, "CRASH." Closer evaluation is possible, but this thumbnail analysis provides enough to get the scholars started and then creating their own using this code.

12 metre long Maori Canoe (Waka)

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