But my guess is that the moment you become a proper Perl programmer you start to achieve your objectives with lesser (and perhaps more efficient) code and perhaps code that looks less readable to the non-monks.
In my experience quite the opposite is true. The more experienced someone is the more readable their code becomes. Experienced programmers in any language know how to use the language's features to make the code self-documenting. They remove clutter by encapsulating logic in functions and methods. They chose variable names and method names wisely. They take advantage of the languages scoping rules and cluster data close to the methods that use them.
Sometimes experienced programmers do use some of the less common features of a language, but their experience ensures that they are used to improve overall readability. Of course, you will have to look that funky syntax up in the reference manual, but this is no different than reading a good columnist in the New York Times or ploughing through a Faulkner novel. You'll go to the dictionary from time to time reading those, but once you know the words, you have the feeling that "yeah - that word says it best". A good writer in both English and code chooses words carefully.
The programming equivalent of "big words" that you have to look up in the dictionary exist in every language. I've written some pretty complex code using Java generics. I doubt your average Java programmer could read it without some thought. Heck, if I've been away from it, I need to crack open the docs and relearn things just to dig into my own code. Php has a bizillion functions and the naming of those functions sometimes seems just a little haphazard. If you code using some of the more unusual ones, your reader is going to be spending time in the docs even though it is "only" Php.
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