According to the Encyclopedia of Computer Languages, people have created more than 8500 programming languages over the years.
Most of the languages have never become mainstream (read Ghost in the Machine for a list of 12 languages that couldn’t take off – I don’t agree with the Haskell part as I think that it has enormous appeal and potential especially for concurrent programming)
Now for the bigger question that I’m asked from time to time:
Q: Why are there so many programming languages?
After deep thoughts, I can now answer:
A: Because a programming language is just a medium of expression and different people express themselves differently…
A corollary might be (but I think to think more about that):
Different people express themselves in different programming languages. Students, being people (after all…), also therefore express themselves in different programming languages. Hence, programming should be taught in a programming language-independent manner in order to cater for all students…
(Edited on 13/7/2007 at 23:17 MUT)
(I guess most of you have recognized the Tower of Babel by Bruegel)