John Pavlus, writing at Fast Co.Design:
Unless you’ve had specialized training, looking at lines of code is like reading hieroglyphs, only less intuitive. According to findings by researchers from Southern Illinois University, this reaction isn’t just because you’re a n00b: they found that Perl, a major programming language used by untold zillions of developers, is no more intuitive to novices than a language with a randomly generated syntax.
While many programmers often cite Perl’s brevity as an asset, I can tell you it’s an incredibly dense language to learn (and not always in a good way). Pavlus rightly points out that many programming languages were designed by committees of engineers who often don’t value usability, but I think information density is another part of the equation. Engineers just love short and sweet, sometimes at the expense of ease-of-use.