There's no reason to be afraid of C. It's one of the easiest languages to learn (you already learned one of the hardest, Perl!) and there's tons of great code out there to study. There's also no need to worry overmuch about portability - C is probably the most widely supported programming language ever created. If a platform runs Perl I guarantee it can run a C compiler! And you don't even have to install a compiler to get your C code running, you can cross-compile for practically any target you can imagine.
And just to echo what you've already been told - Inline::C is perfect for this project. It will make gluing your C code into your Perl program very easy. If you already knew XS I'd say not to bother since your call signature should be very simple here, but why bother if you don't have to?
Finally, when you're done, why not put it on CPAN? I'm sure other people could use a good SQL statement sig generator. I'd be interested in adding it as an optional filter for DBI::Profile and DBI::ProfileDumper, for one.
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