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Instead of focusing on which languages to learn, i would suggest looking at approaches to teaching.
I've found Perl to be the hardest language to learn -- not because of the language, but because of books, classes, manuals that were simply unable to convey the principles behind programming
I struggled on and off for a year, not knowing left from right, and just gave up. Then i came across two amazing books -- Flash f/x and Design (coriolos press) and Beginning PHP (wrox) -- both of which had authors that were unable to do what any Perl author had been able to do for me -- convey simple notions of loops, scalars, lists, hashes, etc
After reading those books, i found O'reilley's 'learning perl' semi-decipherable, and the python documentation manageable
The point i'm trying to make, is that the difficulty you'll encounter in learning your first language is going to be entirely on the ideology of programming -- not necessarily the language. So perl could be the best or worst first language -- depending entirely on the teacher.
In reply to Re: Learning Perl as a First (programming) language