Any Perl book, like Modern Perl mentions how Perl is like English.
Perl is written by Larry Wall a linguist, and most people who are good at Perl are good at languages.
The principle of TMTOWTDI is also another way of saying that everyone writes and speaks Perl and English in their own way, and you can't force people to stick to a certain style.
This suggests that Perl should be taught the way English is taught, and not the way Java is taught.
I also believe that this is Perl's USP, and any improvements or changes in Perl should make it even more like English, and not necessarily like Smalltalk, lisp or any other programming language.