[Haskell-cafe] RE: Haskell as a first language?

Jake McArthur jake.mcarthur at gmail.com
Tue Jul 14 12:36:22 EDT 2009

Michael Vanier wrote:
> Haskell is a wonderful language (my favorite language by far) but it is 
> pretty difficult for a beginner.  In fact, it is pretty difficult for 
> anyone to learn in my experience, because it has so many advanced 
> concepts that simply don't exist in other languages, and trying to 
> absorb them all at once will likely be overwhelming.

I disagree, based on seeing my wife learn some Haskell with basically no 
previous experience programming. It was thrilling to see her learn some 
concepts almost instantly that it actually took me a while to understand 
because I had preconceived notions of how programming should work. When 
I talk about how other programming languages do things she thinks it's 
stupid. For example, I mentioned that you can actually change the values 
of variables in most other programming languages, and often have to, and 
she asked how anything understandable gets written that way. I also 
noticed that when I kept emphasizing that you can pass functions as 
parameters to other functions she was getting bored; it seemed that it 
simply would not have made sense any other way. I see no reason why 
learning more concepts on top of this foundation should be all that hard 
for her.

- Jake

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