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This is getting rapidly less true. Perl used to get dinged for having "funny" syntax like the prefix glyphs on variables, infix if, etc... That was in a world where the language mindshare was dominated by Java, which made its name by simplifying C++ and not making any weird or unconventional choices in syntax.

These days all the cool languages have funny syntax (hell, Ruby lifted most of perl's weirdness directly), sometimes (as with coffeescript) it's touted as a feature. So go back and look at perl with modern eyes. I think you'll find most of the conventional wisdom about its readability was more about the conventions than the wisdom.

The feel I get from the "scala community" is that we've realised that fancy operators are a mistake; most operations are better expressed as english words rather than the ~/s of our foolish youth. I wonder if we'll see that happen with other upcoming languages.

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