[Pdx-pm] Later Learning

Michael G Schwern schwern at pobox.com
Sun May 1 12:01:51 PDT 2005

On Sun, May 01, 2005 at 07:56:34AM -0700, Keith Lofstrom wrote:
> And the truth is somewhere in between.  I'm 51;  I find it is about 30%
> more difficult to learn a computer language than when I was 18.

I'm 87% sure that 62% of all statistics are made up. ;P

Anyhow, once you've learned one computer language its actually EASIER to 
learn another because unlike human languages, computer languages are
designed and relatively homogenous.  Their vocabularies are tiny (20 to
200 keywords and operators) and grammars extremely regular.  Even Perl,
one of the most irregular computer languages out there, is nothing compared 
to, say, Esperanto one of the most regular human languages.  The core 
concepts are limited: variables, functions, control statements, loops,
encapsulation and scope.

You no longer have to make that conceptual leap from the human way of 
thinking to the computer way of thinking.  You can leverage your existing
knowledge of other languages to pick up a new one.  I couldn't possibly
compare my process of learning my first language, as I'm flooded with new
ideas and ways of thinking, to learning my second.

Anyhow, the point is this:  Don't use age as an excuse to stop learning.
And oh yeah, consider learning Haskell. 

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