[Numeracy 188] Re: The double negative language-math link

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Michael Gyori tesolmichael at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 17 00:10:36 EST 2010


Greetings Dorothea and everyone,

In pointing out the semantic difference between double negatives in English vs. Romance and many other languages, you have opened the window to strengthening the language-math link even further.  Spanish L1 speakers, for example, who are studying math are also presumably engaged in learning ESL in some manner.  One key element in the learning process is noticing, which can occur on its own or as a result of facilitation.

Here we are presented with an opportunity to point out differences between English and Spanish on the one hand, and the English language-math link that does not sustain itself in Spanish.  Sounds like we may have a win-win here, as long as you "contain" these similarities and differences by offering coherent and cohesive instruction - ESL plus the numeracy that wasn't taught in the first language, along with associated concepts.

Michael


Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 
www.mauilanguage.com




________________________________
From: "steinkedb at q.com" <steinkedb at q.com>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Tue, February 16, 2010 12:52:40 PM
Subject: [Numeracy 187] Re: The double negative language-math link


I see a problem with using English grammer as a model for math syntax.
 
We must remember that not all our students are native English speakers. What we consider a "double-negative means a positive" in English is a simple negative in Spanish. A literal translation of a simple negative sentence in Spanish (No quiero nada.) looks like a "double-negative" in English (I don't want nothing.) We must be careful that students take in the information in the way that we intend it.
 
Dorothea Steinke
-----Original Message-----

>From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov]On Behalf Of Carol King

>Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:27 PM

>To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List

>Subject: [Numeracy 186] Re: The double negative language-math link

>

>

>The rule in teaching English is that a double negative statement creates a positive statement, so, for a few students, it makes sense to hang my hat on the hook they have. Since they know in English  “ to not not go” creates a positive statement that you are going (and must be rewritten as such) it bridges their mental block about double negatives in math changing to addition problems.

>Carol King

>Fernley Adult Education

>cking at lyon.k12.nv.us

> 

>

________________________________


>From:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Michael Gyori

>Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:58 AM

>To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List

>Subject: [Numeracy 148] The double negative language-math link

> 

>Greetings everone,

> 

>Carol Kingstated,

> 

>If I am taking out taking out 8, as in 10 –  (-8), then I must be adding it.

> 

>I read it a few times and find myself perplexed by it, as much as I believe I understand its intent.

> 

>"Taking out" is a positive statement and regardless of how many times you say it, it remains positive, and what changes - perhaps, depending on how I choose to understand it -  is the number of times you (***yes***)  "take out." If I take out once, I have 2 left, and I cannot take take out again, because I can't take another 8 out of 2.

> 

>Alternatively,  I can understand the meaning to be that I am "taking out" the taking out of 8, which then could leave me to believe that I wanted to take out, then decided against it, such that I end up doing nothing.  I still have 10.

> 

>The problem, as I see it, is that we are getting into integers.  Negative values have no meaning in the world of the concrete, because once you have 0 left, that's it.  On the other hand, if we deal with negative balances (such as when you overdraw your balance in your checking account), you create meaning because it can and does happen.  In other words, negatives carry meaning in mathematical, but not physical (reality) terms...

> 

>Thoughts?

> 

>Michael

>

> 

>Michael A. Gyori

>MauiInternational Language School 

>www.mauilanguage.com

> 

>

> 

> 

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