Language and Mathematics

  • A. G. Howson
  • F. D. Lowenthal
  • Michele Pellerey
  • Colette Laborde
  • Tsutomu Hosoi
  • Maurizio Gnerre
  • Althea Young


The ways in which the learning of mathematics interacts with problems of language are beginning to receive more attention than has formerly been the case. The enormous increase in the variety of children who are now introduced to mathematics has alerted us to aspects previously ignored. It is good, then, that at this Congress considerable time should be devoted to discussing language problems. We have already heard a plenary lecture by Hermina Sinclair on the role of language in cognitive development, and there has been an opportunity for members to respond to this. Further sessions are to be devoted to detailed consideration of the problems of teaching mathematics in a second language. It was my intention to attempt in this paper to survey aspects of the mathematics education/language interface which would not be touched upon in those sessions. Eventually, I rejected that idea and decided to speak on one particular aspect - - that of symbolism. Those in search of a survey will find one such in Austin and Howson (1979). Yet, even by restricting myself to the one area of symbolism, I find that all too frequently I can make only brief allusions to problems. My purpose, then, is to attempt to identify particular areas of possible research and, where possible, to mention existing work.


Native Language Teaching Mathematics Mathematical Concept Mother Tongue Finite Automaton 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Howson
    • 1
  • F. D. Lowenthal
    • 2
  • Michele Pellerey
    • 3
  • Colette Laborde
    • 4
  • Tsutomu Hosoi
    • 5
  • Maurizio Gnerre
    • 6
  • Althea Young
    • 7
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonEngland
  2. 2.Universite de I’Etat a MonsMonsBelgium
  3. 3.Universita Selesiana di RomaItaly
  4. 4.IMAGGrenobleFrance
  5. 5.Science University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Uni campCampinasBrazil
  7. 7.Ministry of EducationKingstonWest Indies

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