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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

This is a problem for some English language learners: The triangle on the left is also a right triangle.
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

"In general" or "generally" In mathematics, if we say a specific result holds in general, we mean there are no exceptions to the result. In every-day non mathematical discussions, if someone makes a ...
user6626's user avatar
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

This can get quite some list… Here are a few: function: a mapping in mathematics vs. a "feature" a "purpose" and "functionality" in everyday language root: e.g. a point where a function is zero vs. ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

The term "statistically significant" is significant in this regard. In the previous sentence, the first example of "significant" means "unlikely to have occurred by chance", and the second denotes ...
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9 votes

Math Education for Students who use Right-to-Left Written Languages

I have some personal experience. I taught in a school that has Israeli students whose families had moved to the US. These children had Hebrew as their native language. Hebrew is written right to left. ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

This could be a huge list but Il add one : Volume. How loud something is or the number of cubes. I think an interesting connected question is which maths words are used by the public in a ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

For many calculus theorems, you'll need to refer to open or closed sets. Those terms have nothing to do with the English meanings. I've found that even native English speakers can be confused ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

Angle - Formed by 2 rays joined at a vertex, vs. a viewpoint, vs. tilt Yard -A unit of measure equal to 3 feet vs the grassy area around a house Constant - A number that doesn't change (not a ...
Amy B's user avatar
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

The adjective simple is heavily overloaded (to use programming terminology) in mathematics. A simple polygon is non-self-intersecting. It can be arbitrarily complicated, but still called "simple." ...
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5 votes

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

By sphere a mathematician means a two-dimensional surface. In everyday speech, a solid three-dimensional ball is often called a sphere. This difference sometimes causes confusion in introductory ...
Dan Fox's user avatar
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

This is a rather good collection. It is an essay by Reuben Hersh entitled Math Lingo vs. Plain English: Double Entendre.
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

I'm going with this. When dealing with teens, someone is bound to make a remark regarding asymptotes since its pronunciation starts with ass. This one, on the other hand, inevitably causes a bit of ...
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5 votes

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

I'm quite surprised no one has mentioned groups, rings and fields, along with the other algebraic concepts like category and algebra.
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

Strategy -- in everyday usage it's a general plan of action to deal with uncertainty, whereas in game theory it's an integer sequence or an algorithm. Neighborhood -- open ball vs. well, ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

"For an arbitrary x": in mathematics, usually "for all x";in English, usually "for a given x".
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Resources for reading mathematics out loud in different languages

For French (my answer is based on the examples of http://www.rpi.edu/dept/math/ms_graduate/resources/SayingMath.pdf, and on my experience as I’m a native speaker) : $2^2$ deux au carré $2^3$ deux au ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

factor -- "this is a factor of the polynomial" versus "this is a factor that contributes to poverty" The next few are more about how these are used by mathematicians (rather than having a technical ...
Courtney Gibbons's user avatar
3 votes

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

The word "multiply" in English almost always means "increase". Many people believe that $\frac{3}{7}\times9$ must be bigger than $9$ because $9$ is getting multiplied.
WeCanLearnAnything's user avatar
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Teaching words with multiple meanings in Mathematics and English

Personally, the perspective I recommend is kind of the reverse. Despite the linked thread, I find that most of the time, the mathematical term has some reason why it was picked for the mathematical ...
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2 votes

ELL textbooks for core university math?

I think it's broadly unlikely that there are any calculus-track textbooks aimed at English Language Learners. But that's just an educated guess. If you use OER textbooks, then you won't be wasting any ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
2 votes

ELL textbooks for core university math?

You've said that your students are at a "university" (i.e., not a community college), and have clarified that they're in the US. Your characterization is that "most of" them find a ...
user18168's user avatar
2 votes

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

The word imply has significantly different meanings in ordinary speech and mathematics, and has caused me some confusion in the past. According to this dictionary entry, the word indicates a ...
Endothermia's user avatar
2 votes

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

The words rational and irrational mean very different things in math and in real life.
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2 votes

Math Education for Students who use Right-to-Left Written Languages

Am Arabian Mathematician. In my country in all school we used to write math from right to left i scored very well in 12th grade 179/200. But in the universities we use English books so we write from ...
IrbidMath's user avatar
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

Here is an example that is simple, but that causes many problems in math classes: or. Example: Do you prefer coffee or milk? In everyday English, the "or" is interpreted as to choose only ...
Humberto José Bortolossi's user avatar
1 vote

Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

Two things come in my mind: continuity and circles: Continuity : In normal English, a curve is continuous when you can draw it without lifting your pencil. In mathematics, there's a whole definition ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

There are terms I have never liked because their meaning conflicts with what one would expect. The one that comes most readily to mind is 'whole numbers'. It sounds to me like it should include the ...
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Examples of vocabulary that have different meanings in Mathematics compared to "everyday" English

There are many examples from statistics, one already mentioned in other answer (significant versus statistically significant). Words from English in daily use, hijacked for a highly technical meaning:...
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