I read a paper the other day that described a system for teaching kids programming. It was one of those robot simulations where the student learns programming by using a special mini-language to teach an on-screen robot to accomplish certain goals.
So in this case the language in question is a simple one, specialized for the robot ideas as a gentle way to introduce programming.
Later in the same paper they described how a newer version of the system switched to Java as the language for the robot. I am amazed how easily people are brainwashed into using the popular thing in place of the right thing. Instead of something simple use the "industry standard" language, no matter how much it might damage their minds. :-/
What would be better? I guess the robot language they were using before would be just fine. Or pick some other simple language if you're looking for mindshare. BASIC, LOGO, Forth, Smalltalk.