I wish I spoke as many human languages as I “speak” programming languages? I also wish programming languages could actually be used to communicate between humans. One could argue that someone else reading your code is a communication between humans, but it’s like overhearing the conversation between a human and a computer: one may appreciate what the human is telling that computer but the humans aren’t sharing any context between themselves.
I speak Tok Pisin and Urdu after having lived in Papua New Guinea and Pakistan respectively.
Mi gat save long Tok Pisin – I have understanding of Tok Pisin.
Mujhe Urdu ati (kutch na kutch) – To me Urdu comes (some not some).
I speak Dutch fluently, German well enough and okay French. With those languages (and English), it is usually do-able to somewhat grasp the bigger picture of things in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian (but not always so of course).
Learning to program (well) in general might well be way harder than those who have learned it remember. Having taught programming to a few dozen students, it is a small miracle to me that anyone learns to program at all. Learning to program (well!) in general might be comparable in difficulty to learning a first foreign human language. (Not necessarily too difficult at first sight, but otherwise surely a lot of work.)
This fast picking up of programming languages only happens once the first has or first few have been acquired. Something similar seems to be the case with human languages.
Many ‘mainstream’ human languages (specifically the European ones) are very similar. The same is true for programming languages.
speak Dutch natively.
read & listen English fluently, but speak it way slower than Dutch. (Not clear on writing: my Dutch writing is slow as well.)
was taught German and French in school, but am not at conversational level.
was taught a little bit of ancient Greek in school.
and dabble with Italian, Swedish. Portuguese I can barely follow when reading (social) conversation, Catalan is usually okay to follow, but I cannot respond. I did learn Latin in High School for six years (and 3 years of Ancient Greek), and that has helped me a lot with western languages.
I agree with this point and the other points. (Western) languages became fastly easier to learn. Once I stopped thinking languages were an “alpha” thing instead of a “beta” thing (that whole rhetoric that there are STEM people and language people) but rather saw languages as rules, and their exceptions as rules as well, I thrived