# Questions tagged [language-use]

Use of language in communicating mathematics. Includes all kinds of languages: spoken, written, symbolic etc. There is a separate tag for terminology, which is a narrow subfield of language use.

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### When a geometrical figure a special case of another [closed]

Squares are special types of rectangles. Are circles special types of ellipses/ovals? Are cones special types of pyramids? I guess the answer is no because of the 2D basis: circles are not special ...
272 views

### Is there an equivalent for "tiervenner" in English or other languages?

In Norway a widely used concept is that of "tiervenner", "ten friends" (my translation to Finnish is "kymppikaverit"). This simply means numbers (implicitly positive ...
611 views

### What's the common word for equations and inequalities?

My instinct is often that there should be some technical word for the common class of equations and inequalities. That is: statements that connect two numerical expressions, with a relational operator ...
277 views

### The word "numeral", is it being taught and does the word exist for it in your language?

I am a mathematics educator from Lithuania and I have recently realized that there is no separate word in our language for the word "numeral". To be more precise there is no term to describe the ...
6k views

### What can (and should) an educator do about ambiguous terms like "triangle", "square", etc?

The imagined students are in elementary school, say around 9-13 years old. I want to use rather precise terminology when talking to my students. However, it seems like we typically use the same ...
1k views

### Can students tell the difference between the "definition if" and the "theorem if"?

The word "if" is used in two meanings in mathematics: Definition. A topological space is compact if every open cover has a finite subcover. Theorem. A topological space is compact if it is ...
891 views

### How to reduce ambiguity in the following question?

There are $50$ bacteria at 10:00 and each divides simultaneously into 2 every 20 minutes. The process of dividing into two is known as binary fission. Let $n$ be the number of fissions that have ...
157 views

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### Resources for reading mathematics out loud in different languages

Are there reference books or online material for reading mathematics out loud in different languages? For example, the expression1) $$\int x^2dx=\frac13x^3$$ is understandable to anyone who has ...
155 views

### How to get kids thinking about the relationship between basic math (algebra) and English (or language in general)

I was wondering, how would you explain to young high school students or grade school kids the relationship between math and English? For me, both are systems that follow certain rules. Math is often ...
97 views

### Can we use "specific" and "particular" interchangeably all the time?

I am just marking a couple of linear algebra papers in which one of the questions is to determine whether $(A+B)^2=A^2+2AB+B^2$ is true for 2-by-2 matrices or not. One of the students has chosen two ...
428 views

### Logic in symbols or words

Making precise logical statements is an important part of teaching and learning mathematics. There are many ways to write such statements, and let me divide them into two main types1: writing in ...
3k views

### Phrasing the Van Hiele levels in student-friendly language

I teach high school geometry and see many of my students fall in to the trap of "it looks like it, so it's true" -- a Van Hiele Level 0 to 1 thought process. For instance, when talking about parallel ...
205 views

### Words used in quantifier proofs

I'm creating a list of "gotcha words" that are often used in writing proofs (particularly quantifier proofs), but frequently in more than one possible way, and that beginners frequently misuse or ...
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### Correct term to say that a number divides another number "evenly"?

This is something that has continued to bother me in general, and recently I had multiple occasions where saying something like "2 divides 14 evenly" has confused students, They expected the result to ...
332 views

### Language as a barrier to learn math

It is well recognized that learning number names is not an easy task for native English speaking children. For example, the number name for "11" should be learned quite independently from the name of ...
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### Mathematics dictionary use for English Language Learners

My class is composed of international high school students coming from different countries and backgrounds. Hence different skills and needs. Our lingua franca is English and it is important to note ...