I'm having serious problems understanding the syntax of LaTeX well. I know a lot of programming languages but LaTeX still is a little cryptic for me. Do you know what the key to fully understanding it is?
Since LaTeX builts on TeX, a very good foundation to understand its syntax is learning the TeX syntax. Here are helpful documents (I took it from a list on my blog):
- The TeXbook
- TeX by Topic
- A Gentle Introduction to TeX
- TeX for the Impatient
- Getting started with Plain TeX
- Making TeX Work
Specifically for LaTeX syntax, there's a huge amount of documentation and there are many books and online tutorials and introductions. For understanding what the LaTeX author Leslie Lamport meant with LaTeX syntax extensions, I recommend to read his book "LaTeX: A Document Preparation System".
The key to understanding the syntax or rather shall I say to get used to it, is to do a bit of reading and programming in TeX. The best source of information on TeX is the Knuth's TeXbook. Trying to understand LaTeX reading its source alone is like trying to understand a computer language by reading its standard library.
The language is a bit cryptic but so is any language that one does not understand well (try Erlang or Brainfuck or even some of the code for Perl)! Perseverance is a good attribute to have when dealing with TeX/LaTeX!
I suggest you to read The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX 2ε several pages a day and do many real experiments.
Theoritically you need only 157 minutes in total to read the tutorial. And if you still have problems, just post it in a new thread.
The Wikibooks entry on LaTeX has an awesome amount of basic tutorials, examples, explanations, etc. It's pretty thorough for a beginner and yet has a very well-laid-out structure that can easily accommodate people of any level of experience.