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In order to write new functions for Readline, you need to know the calling conventions for keyboard-invoked functions, and the names of the variables that describe the current state of the line read so far.
The calling sequence for a command
foo looks like
where count is the numeric argument (or 1 if defaulted) and key is the key that invoked this function.
It is completely up to the function as to what should be done with the numeric argument. Some functions use it as a repeat count, some as a flag, and others to choose alternate behavior (refreshing the current line as opposed to refreshing the screen, for example). Some choose to ignore it. In general, if a function uses the numeric argument as a repeat count, it should be able to do something useful with both negative and positive arguments. At the very least, it should be aware that it can be passed a negative argument.