I really like C. I find it a pleasure to program in C. I enjoy its simplicity and minimalism, and I love the preprocessor as a concept. C is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Gives you great power, but expects responsibility. It’s by far my favourite programming language.
I use C++ the most (daily, professionally and for personal projects). I don’t particularly like it (I don’t hate it either), but it does the job very well. When I want something done, I program it in C++. What it lacks in beauty, consistency and elegance, it more than makes up in efficiency, comfort of use, and raw power. While superficially similar to C, in some ways it’s actually the opposite of it: difficult to learn, easy to master, bloated with useful features and features you will never use. I’m not a fan of the object-oriented paradigm, but C++ doesn’t force that upon you (or any other programming style), so that’s fine. Unfortunately, my boss forces OOP upon me, so that’s what I do daily…
Awk is a really, really neat concept. I love Awk. <3 It has a very specific use case that it excels in, yet it is powerful enough to do complicated programs (not that you’d want to do that). I really appreciate that. People abuse it in shell scripting for trivial things that they don’t know how to accomplish in pure Bash. I don’t like that, but that’s not Awk’s fault.
Assembly is fun, but not very practical, obviously. It lacks portability and makes for utterly unmaintainable code. Apart from toy projects and recreational programming, I only use it in embedded projects where performance is critical and think I can optimise something better than the compiler (which is to say, almost never).
Shell scripting is kinda nice, I like it. Very slow, though. I appreciate programmers who take effort to write pure Bash that runs in a single process, without any plumbing or abuse of
I used to really dislike LISP, but I’ve grown appreciation for it, it’s actually a really neat programming language. I also like the fact it is simple enough that I feel confident to implement a working compiler/interpreter for it as a weekend project. Scheme is my favourite LISP dialect. When it comes to functional programming paradigm, LISP does it much better than, say, Haskell, which is just too… fruity.
I used to program quite a bit in FORTRAN, as a physicist. I didn’t enjoy that. It’s a powerful language, great for numerical computations, but quite annoying to use.
I am mostly neutral towards Python (I hate some aspects of it, like relevant whitespace and total lack of type safety, but I do like some aspects of it, like elegant and efficient syntax). It’s a good language for kids to learn algorithms and data structures. Like with any other scripting language, Python programs tend to run very slowly.
Ruby is absolutely useless. It’s not an ugly language, but it has absolutely nothing unique about it, nor anything that it does better than any other language. No niche use case that would make me actually want to use it rather than something else. You may as well just use Python, really…
I hate Java, it’s the most cursed thing ever. I also hate its bastard offspring: Scala and Clojure. Sometimes, at my job, Java is inflicted upon me and in those cases I find my self uttering profanity so ugly and obnoxious that I surprise even myself, because I thought I wasn’t capable of it (still, it’s not as ugly or obnoxious as Java).
C# is mostly used on a niche gaming platform that I have no interest in (windoze), so I never encountered it. I don’t miss it in my life. M$ Visual Basic can burn in Hell, together with Bill Gates, too.
I don’t like Rust, it’s clumsy (say “traits” one more time, I dare you). Memory safety is overrated (important but not difficult to accomplish in C or C++, if you’re not stupid). It’s like Wayland – when a traumatized programmer wants to fix a problem (in this case memory safety) so he designs a programming language focused on just fixing that issue, sacrificing everything else. I also dislike the concept of package managers for programming languages (Cargo in particular, but also npm, pip, gem, etc…). It encourages low-quality code with a lot of a dependency bloat. Not particularly safe to have 2000 dependencies you have no control over, is it?
I don’t like Go(olag). It’s created by an utterly evil company and I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the compiler.
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: Obviously, this post is very opinionated. The OP asked about personal preferences, this is that. You are free to disagree with me. You’re also free to be wrong.