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There is site learn you a haskell with title "Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!". Does "Great Good" mean "very very good"? Does the whole phrase mean "learning Haskell is good for you" or "learning Haskell is good for whole world" or something else?

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Haskell is a very mathematical programming language. It is typically learned by mathematically inclined people who have big brains. That makes the subject matter frightening to many people. It triggers their "math anxiety".

The title is deliberately silly so as not to make people feel anxious. Haskell books are typically pedantic and formal. The informal, grammatically incorrect, silly style of the title is kind of promise to the reader that the book won't be overly pedantic and formal.

I think also that the author, who is Slovenian, may be making fun of his own English skills. (The English inside the book however is very good.)

In better English, the title might be something like, "Learn Haskell for great benefit".

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It's a deliberate mistake, as is "Learn You". I think this is based on a comedy routine by Baron Sacha Cohen called Borat.

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There are a lot of deliberate mistakes in that tutorial (among many other wonderful jokes). They’re a rather good parody of common mistakes by inexperienced non-native speakers. – PLL Dec 23 '10 at 4:28
Unfortunately, as this question demonstrates, it's flagrantly irresponsible. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 30 '13 at 18:00
It is not flagrantly irresponsible. The point of the book is to teach Haskell, not English. The author himself is from Slovenia ( learnyouahaskell.com/faq ), so he is perhaps enjoying the joke that many who are not native English speakers can appreciate. I, for one, absolutely LOVE this writing style. It is the first educational book that ever had me laugh out loud (the bit about breaking down the song)!! – Mike Williamson Jan 20 '15 at 1:23

I'm inclined to think it's a parody of "For great justice!" from the badly-translated game, Zero Wing.


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I think it's a Haskell joke, playing on the functional programming style used in that language.

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I'm inclined to believe you, but that answer seems too easy without a more specific/detailed explanation. – Thom Blake Oct 15 '11 at 19:01
I'm disinclined to believe you because I don't see anything that suggests functional programming in the title. – dangph Jan 21 at 5:43
"Haskell /ˈhæskəl/ is a standardized, general-purpose purely functional programming language". #google – nickf Jan 25 at 18:03

I'd be more inclined to interpret "for Great Good" as a form of "for the Greater Good".

In that case it corresponds with "learning Haskell is good for whole world" per your suggestion.

Compare to "Making the world a better place, one person at a time".

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According to this post the phrasing originated in the title of the Haskell tutorial "Write Yourself a Scheme in 48 hours", written in 2006, and was simply a (not that ungrammatical, but certainly awkward) "portmanteau of two different common memes at the time": the "Teach yourself X in 21 days books", and Peter Norvig's semi-parody "Teach yourself programming in 10 years".

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It could mean 'good' in the economic sense, where it is a noun. But somehow I doubt it.

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protected by RegDwigнt Jan 14 '13 at 19:41

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