Learning different languages

Delaney, Timothy (Tim) tdelaney at avaya.com
Wed Mar 8 00:02:54 CET 2006

Rich wrote:

> I'm more thinking about Python, PHP, C++, Perl, Euphoria, which are
> languages I'm thinking of learning now. They look much more like each
> other than basic and MC, at places some even share the exact same
> syntax it seems, so your brain might get confused with what language
> you're actually working with?
> How is your experience with handling these paralell?. And what would
> you recommend - take one (or perhaps two) at a time, and then continue
> with the next? Or is it OK to go ahead with them all, at once?

Having forgotten at least 20 programming languages ...

I find I tend to learn languages serially - I concentrate on one
language at a time. I may *use* other languages at the same time, but I
don't *actively* learn more than one at once. At any time I'll usually
be actively *using* 3-5 languages (e.g. currently Python, Java, SQL,
bash scripting), with the occasional foray elsewhere as needed. And I'll
be expanding my knowledge of them all the time. But that's different
from "learning the language".

"Laval stage" (look it up ;) for me tends to last between 2 weeks to 4
weeks, depending on the complexity of the language. This primarily
involves learning the syntax, and a basic understanding of any libraries
that come with the language. There will then usually be a second larval
stage once I've attained some level of mastery of the language.

For Python, I actually had two larval stages very close together - my
first introduction was maintaining a Zope (2.0) web site. Then I came to
Python proper - this stage only took about 2 weeks, and most of it was
learning the standard library and what being "Pythonic" means.

Tim Delaney

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