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Reading the Readtable

You sound upset.  Could you please be calm about this?  I gather from
what you say that the problems with Henry's suggestion are (1) it loses
information, and (2) it might be ambiguous because there might be more
than one "description" that applies to a particular character.  Now,
indeed, it is going to lose information, and you can't just use the
"description" to move syntax attributes from one charcter to another.
However, it would be nice to be able to ask whether a certain character
is alphabetic in a certain readtable, even though there is other
interesting information to be had about the character.  Furthermore, it
looks to me (at a glance) like the set of "descriptions" documented with
si:set-syntax-from-description is non-overlapping.  So it still looks
like the function Henry is asking for may have some value, although not
all of the value that you might ideally want it to have.  This would be
both meaningful and useful without letting you use it later in a
different readtable.  In answer to your question, yes, I do want them to
both return ALPHABETIC, and if I care that S can be used in small
flonums, well, there's no description for that anyway.  Maybe we really
should have something like two-argument typep, though.