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Role of Knowledge of Mathematical Language In Mathematical Ability

Does Knowledge of Mathematical Language Play A Role In Mathematical Ability? – A Preliminary Study

Dr. (Ms.) Prema K. S. Rao, Professor of Speech Pathology (Retd), All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysuru – 570006.
Email – rao.prema@gmail.com

Dr. (Ms.) Ramaa S., Professor of Education and Dean of Instruction, Regional Institute of Education (NCERT), Mysuru – 570006.
Email – ramma.vijayan@gmail.com

Dr. (Ms.) Gowramma I. P., Professor of Education, Regional Institute of Education (NCERT), Bhubaneswar – 751022.
Email – gowriip@yahoo.co.in

Abstract

Mathematics has always been associated with knowledge of digits and number words. Limited thought is given to the language system that binds digits and number words for meaningful computation. The lexicons of mathematics such as series of alphabets, numbers and digits become meaningless unless semantics or the meaning component is loaded into mathematical problems. Therefore, language skills related to reading, writing and comprehension are linked to performance in mathematics. In order to understand the role of language in mathematical lexicons, tests were developed for math vocabulary reading and math language incorporating general language vocabulary and syntax. The tests were administered on 47 children studying in IV Grade with Kannada as the medium of instruction. Results indicated poor performance by children on tasks where the general language vocabulary terms are shared between math and language. The study emphasizes the importance of teaching meaning of the mathematical lexicons in the classroom.

 Key words: Mathematics, Language, Lexicon, Syntax, Kannada, Primary Grade

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Does Knowledge of Mathematical Language Play A Role In Mathematical Ability? – A Preliminary Study