“PHP gets a bad press, because it has never been an academic language, [Andi Gutmans says]. ‘Even in the early days in 2000, it has always been a pragmatic language, like Visual Basic. It’s known as the English of the Web.’”
-Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend, quoted in an interview for TechWeekEurope.
This reminded me of The Story of English, a popular history of the English language that I read a long time ago. (How long ago? Check the publication date, and realize I read it soon after it came out.)
One of the things I took away from that book was this: English is messy, illogical, and has features that only its promiscuous history can explain. That’s why English had become, by the late 20th century, so successful as a lingua franca. It was vibrant, even if it didn’t make “sense”.
The comparison of English and PHP sounds very apt to me.