Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2014 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Mathematical Language

  • Candia Morgan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4978-8_99

Introduction: What Is Mathematical Language?

Specialized domains of activity generally have their own specialized vocabularies and ways of speaking and writing; consider, for example, the language used in the practices of law or computer science, fishing, or football. The specialized language enables participants to communicate efficiently about the objects peculiar to their practice and to get things done, though it may simultaneously serve to exclude other people who are not specialists in the domain. This is certainly the case for the specialized activity of mathematics: While some aspects of mathematical language, such as its high degree of abstraction, may be an obstacle to participation for some people, doing mathematics is highly dependent on using its specialized forms of language, not only to communicate with others but even to generate new mathematics. In making this claim, we need to be clearer about what mathematical language is.

For some, the language of mathematics is...


Algebraic notation Communication Genre Language Mathematical vocabulary Multimodality Objectification Register Representations Semiotic systems 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Education, University of LondonLondonUK