How come this wasn’t the default in a language with a type system as soft as ice cream in the summer?
Early PHP was essentially gluing functoins from C into an HTML template. Back then, the convention was to make the PHP function definition the same as the C function definition. This made sense at the time because the people who were using PHP were already familiar with C.
There were no named arguments in C, thus there were no named arguments in PHP.
Not sure if the first version of PHP had functions in the first place. The announcement does not mention any kind of programming syntax:
True, you have a point. Still, if you are going to add functions, why add such a poor implementation?