Interesting tangent about syntactic elegance ... I have not seen enough differences in Perl6 to say it has significant syntactic elegance over Perl5. Can you point out some specific examples?
You mention COBOL which I had the (mis)fortune of getting paid to program in for a short time back when I was a college intern. In addition to liberal GOTO use, the code was peppered with ALTER statements, which is COBOL's way of writing self modifying code. So, far from being elegant to maintain, it was a syntactically pleasing maintenance nightmare I inherited.
After that I worked on some easy to maintain C, then C++, then C code. C is really only a step or two above assembler if you look at it honestly. The reason for the ease of maintenance had less to do with the language than it did with the design and with the logical way the problems were abstracted and factored down to interfaces.
So I'm not sure I believe that syntactic changes will make a huge difference, although I agree with you that coming more towards that Java-like middle ground syntax helps those less capable programmers pick things up faster.
Then there's the Java code I inherited that had one method named main ...
In reply to Re^2: Critique of Where Perl 6 is Heading on Freshmeat.net