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Submission + - Best language to learn functional programming? 2

Fished writes: "A couple of recent articles here on Slashdot have made reference to Functional Programming, which forces me to admit a weakness. Despite programming since the age of 6 (literally) and using snippets of Emacs LISP for almost 20 years, I've never really mastered a Functional language. Since I learn a new programming language every year to keep from getting stale, I've decided that this year I'm going to correct that. So, here's the question: first, what's the best language for a new-comer to functional programming? I recognize that Python and Ruby incorporate some functional features, but I want to learn a pure functional language that will force me to master the functional paradigm. Obviously, LISP is a choice, but I'm not sure that its the best choice. Ideally, I want a language and an environment that will let me write something useful. Second, what books, websites, and tools would you recommend for someone new to Functional programming?"
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Best language to learn functional programming?

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  • I'd recommend O'Caml for several reasons:

    1. it's statically typed, unlike LISP
    2. it has a fine emacs mode, and you sound familiar with that environment
    3. it boasts a top-level read-eval-print loop, which is great for learning
    4. it sports an excellent native-code compiler, which is well-suited to building actual applications
    5. it has a vibrant user community with fairly active developers
    6. there are lots of libraries and bindings for doing things like X programming, SDL, Gtk, etc.

    Although it's not "pure" in the sense that

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard