in reply to Perl as Language

I still think Perl is more like hieroglyphics. Visual, more so than spoken, abstract more so than most languages, intensely pretty to look at, placement of words and symbols is highly important and highly variable, and takes a great deal of dedication to become adept at understanding it. I'm not saying it's dead or anything -- just that it takes on a form most languages don't take.

Lisp, for instance, might be cuneiform :) C is definitely a common language like English. Everybody knows it (or should), and it's very utilitarian. C++ is the language of people who have been drinking too much, stilted, inconsistent, and overly verbose while doing little more than what could be said in a few words of "C". Java, of course, is the ramblings of lunatics, who like to hear themselves talk and think they are among the coding Gods. VB (and ASP, etc) is the language of a 4-year old ... to some extent, not able to form complete and well structured thoughts.

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Re^2: Perl as Language
by Ambidangerous (Scribe) on May 27, 2004 at 18:50 UTC

    Interesting point--on the other hand, when I think of heiroglyphics, I think of something like APL or Commodore 64 Basic (such as I remember of it, I remember it had a lot of non-ASCII hoopajoos in it).

    I started learning Perl some time ago, and it's gradually been pushing me farther away from Windows, further into Linux land. As a result, only now am I learning the *real* basics--proper shell commands, etc. (I can hardly stand to use the old, tired cmd.exe DOS prompt anymore--many of you probably know the feeling.)

    The further I go into the original Perl enviroment, the more similarities I see in grammar and function--sort of like the day I read a passage in German out loud, and realized, if you slurred the words a bit, it sounded just like King James English.

    But the more I thought about the connection of Perl as a programming language to Perl as an actual form of communication, the more parallels I began to see. Some I didn't mention in the opening topic:

    • Perl poetry, of course.
    • Idioms.
    • Pronouns ($_, @_) = it, them.
    • Indirect objects.
    • Grammar rules (use strict;)
    • Professors of the language (use diagnostics;)
    • Power through conciseness @lines = <FILE>;
    • Arguments over proper grammar, because there's more than one way to say it.

    On the other hand, Perl has institutions that human languages don't: CPAN, yes, but the language as a whole has been improving and becoming more powerful each 'generation'--as opposed to spoken language, which, to paraphrase the Camel book, just changes so it can 'sit around being different'.

      Programming languages and spoken ones have a different way of changing. In spoken languages, people just speak differently as time goes by, and after some decades or centuries, thing that would have been "errors" are then accepted to be correct usage. Whereas programming languages need to be changed (i.e. get a different compiler/interpreter) in order to accept "errors" as a correct input.

      I was never really fascinated by Esperanto, I'd rather have something like "simplified English" as an official international language. Common people in India prove that it's possible to simplify the English grammar radically and still be understood.

      About Perl, I like its flexibility. That makes it much easier to code than other languages. A good thing about perl are its warnings and error messages, they're quite smart sometimes. Quite unlike, for example, JavaScript where most of the times the interpreter only states something like "you made an error somewhere in this document".