Think about it. Math as a language. Some say, "math is like a foreign language" - Greek, in fact; they "don't get it" - don't understand it. Setting aside the fact that mathematics actually has many great Greek contributors (and Islamic, Indian, Italian, to name a few more), if you look at the components of a language, math really is a language.

All languages have:

- symbols (alphabet)
- nouns, verbs, and descriptors (words)
- rules, methods, and practices that are related to the use of these symbols (grammar)
- sentences
- people who use that system of symbols in order to communicate

- numerals and variables are the symbols
- the way the numerals and variables are used give us nouns (numerals, constants, and representations that are fixed), verbs ((in)equalities, operations), and pronouns (variables),
- conventions of usage
- variables a,b,c... usually indicate constants
- variables i,j,k... usually indicate counting numbers
- variables x,y,z ...usually indicate unknown variables to be obtained
- sentences read left to right
- order of operations

- sentences are in the form of equations and formulas (2x + 4 < 20)
- people around the world use this system of numbers to communicate about real world issues both informally and formally - counting, measurement, money, data, statistics, probability, reasoning, geometry, calculus, physics, engineering

- Math is primarily a written form of communication (really?)
- Math is an art (it is created by it's own rules, it is beautiful)
- Math is a science (it is experimental, it explains realities according to set rules)

Good essay. Made your point, & supported it well.

ReplyDeleteDoes that have any teaching implications for you, math being a language?

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