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Would like an alias to read the part of the current command line that precedes the alias


I am using zsh 4.3.12 on Xubuntu and am trying to find a substitute 
for the following which is in the default .bashrc:  

# Add an "alert" alias for long running commands.  Use like so:
#   sleep 10; alert
#alias alert='notify-send --urgency=low -i "$([ $? = 0 ] && echo 
terminal || echo error)" "$(history|tail -n1|sed -e '\''s/^\s*[0-

This pops up a notification that says, for example, "sleep 10" to 
let the user know which long-running command has just finished.  
The part of the alias that seems hard to duplicate in zsh is:  

history|tail -n1

The closest I have come to a working zsh version of "alert" is to 
define the following function in .zshrc:  

function alert_function() {
  local icontype="$([ $? = 0 ] && echo terminal || echo error)"

  local last_hist="$argv[*]"
  # This is dependent on this function being called correctly.  
  # Calling the function correctly can be done manually as follows: 
  # sleep 2; alert_function !#:0-
  # ... but it is not yet known how to do this in such a way that 
the only 
  # punctuation mark that the user needs to type is the ";".  

  notify-send --urgency=low -i $icontype $last_hist

The comment block tells the story.  :-) 

The zshexpn manpage says that history expansion (!#:0- in this 
case) is done before alias expansion (or any other expansion).  
That seems to make it difficult for any keyword that consists only 
of letters (no punctuation marks), such as 'alert', to refer to 
what precedes it on the command line.  

Thanks in advance for suggestions.  

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