chapter  5
23 Pages

Is arithmetic a foreign language? Representing numbers and arithmetical problems in different forms and translating between them

If one is to understand and deal with arithmetic, one must be able to understand how numbers and operations are represented by words and symbols. Some of these words and symbols are specific to arithmetic. For example, the numerals are used only to represent numbers and are distinct from the other symbols used in written language. Others may be used in different ways in contexts within and outside arithmetic. For example, the word ‘times’ refers to multiplication in the context of arithmetic, but in other contexts may refer to occasions (‘I’ve gone there several times’); to an era (‘The times are changing’); or even to the name of a newspaper.