Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H
For learning ? Well, I'd vote for python, it's easy to learn. Ruby is ok too. PHP is mostly for web sites, are you planning on making web sites ?
I would agree about python being easier to learn. Once you learn it, some of the fundamental concepts of programming will cross over to the other languages. It is also more of a general purpose language (From websites to graphical programs to computer administration), where PHP, for example, is specific to the web. Python has a python interpreter, which you may use to explore commands. When learning a language learn about IDEs or Integrated Development Environments. Most have syntax highlighting, which helps you understand how the code works, and helps you catch errors.
One of the things I did when trying to choose a language was googling: "ruby vs python" or "PHP vs Perl" You will get people who feel strongly for one language over anther, (horses for courses ~katkin) but you will get a feeling for why people prefer one over the others. It will help you build your own perception of the computer languages.
The one piece of advice I would offer is "Choose carefully, and learn completely", then move on to other languages if you are curious about them.