### 11.1.3 Local variables

Local variables in a function definition can be given initial values
in the line they are declared in if you put their initialization in
parentheses; for example,

local a,b;
a := 1;

is the same as

local (a := 1), b;

Local variables should be given values within the function definition.
If you want to use a local variable as a symbolic variable, then you
can indicate that with the assume command. For
example, if you define a function myroots by

myroots (a) := {
local x;
return solve(x^2=a,x);
}

then calling

myroots(4)

will simply return the empty list. You could leave x
undeclared, but that would make x a global variable and could
interact with other functions in unexpected ways. You can get the
behavior you probably expected by explicitly assuming x to be a
symbol;

myroots (a) := {
local x;
assume(x,symbol);
return solve(x^2=a,x);
}

(Alternatively, you could use purge(x) instead
of assume(x,symbol).) Now if you enter

myroots(4)

you will get