Jabberwocky : the complexities of mathematical English

Carter, Merilyn Gladys & Quinnell, Lorna (2012) Jabberwocky : the complexities of mathematical English. Australia Primary Mathematics Classroom, 17(2), pp. 3-9.


Mathematical English is a unique language based on ordinary English, with the addition of highly stylised formal symbol systems. Some words have a redefined status. Mathematical English has its own lexicon, syntax, semantics and literature. It is more difficult to understand than ordinary English. Ability in basic interpersonal communication does not necessarily result in proficiency in the use of mathematical English. The complex nature of mathematical English may impact upon the ability of students to succeed in mathematical and numeracy assessment. This article presents a review of the literature about the complexities of mathematical English. It includes examples of more than fifty language features that have been shown to add to the challenge of interpreting mathematical texts. Awareness of the complexities of mathematical English is an essential skill needed by mathematics teachers when teaching and when designing assessment tasks.

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ID Code: 54169
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Keywords: Mathematics, Numeracy, Vocabulary, Mathematical English
ISSN: 1326-0286
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers
Deposited On: 15 Oct 2012 00:06
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2013 16:37

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