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Language of Math

Math is much more about language than it is about numbers.  There is a language to math and if that language is unknown or only partially known, a deficit in math skills will result.  Language is a system of communication that has vocabulary, grammar, syntax and people who use and understand it.   According to this definition, math is a language.


Math is a language with a unique vocabulary of words and symbols including synonyms and antonyms.  The vocabulary of math often has unique meanings attached to otherwise known words or symbols and multiple meanings are noted.  Prefixes and suffixes are often added to voacbulary changing how the vocabulary is used.

Math is a language that makes use of a set of rules that outline how the vocabulary is used.  Syntax and grammar rules dictate the organization of math words and symbols into sentences, structures or propositions.  Math stories and conversations (both known as word problems) are language.

Math is a language that depends upon people to understand and use the vocabulary (words and symbols), syntax  and grammar successfully.  Math is a form of communication and a spoken language.

As a simple example, the following equation can be communicated (spoken) in a variety of sentences, each with its own vocabulary, syntax and grammar.

                                 2 + 3 = 5

                                                              "Two plus three equals five."

                                        "Two and three are five."

                             "Three added to two is the same as five."

                       "Five is the result of putting two and three together."

When a person struggles with math, it is probably more a struggle with the language of math than with numbers.  The speech and language therapist has specific knowledge of and expertise in handling language disorders.  Constance has a wealth of experience that is suited to the remediation of math disorders.

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