It's a different approach to learning that I think favors the actual learning curve, not the perceived learning curve.
Your brain is actually built to memorize symbols like this. (I feel I know the learning process pretty well because I have toddler-aged kids who are also learning Chinese.) Of course, kids are not grownups, but even for grownups the process of binding symbol->meaning is easier than it looks like it should be.
Also, when you have name->meaning, the name inevitably is chosen for orthographic reasons and supplies its own meaning, which may mislead from the actual definition of the primitive. If you bind a symbol directly to a semantics, you lose this source of confusion. It is replaced (ideally) by an odd sense of "seeing the function," which I think is also present in experienced Perl ninjas.