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What is so special about mathematical texts?: Analyses of common claims in research literature and of properties of textbooks
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
2013 (English)In: ZDM - the International Journal on Mathematics Education, ISSN 1863-9690, E-ISSN 1863-9704, Vol. 45, no 5, 751-763 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study surveys claims in research articles regarding linguistic properties of mathematical texts, focusing on claims supported by empirical or logical arguments. It also performs a linguistic analysis to determine whether some of these claims are valid for school textbooks in mathematics and history. The result of the survey shows many and varying claims that mainly describe mathematical texts as highly compact, precise, complex, and containing technical vocabulary. However, very few studies present empirical support for their claims, and the few empirical studies that do exist contradict the most common, and unsupported, claims, since no empirical study has shown mathematical texts to be more complex than texts from other subjects, and any significant differences rather indicate the opposite. The linguistic analysis in this study is in line with previous empirical studies and stands in contrast to the more common opinion in the unsupported claims. For example, the mathematics textbooks have significantly shorter sentences than the history textbooks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 45, no 5, 751-763 p.
Keyword [en]
communication, history, language, linguistics, reading
National Category
Didactics Other Mathematics
Research subject
didactics of mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-75783DOI: 10.1007/s11858-013-0522-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-75783DiVA: diva2:635283
Available from: 2013-07-03 Created: 2013-07-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Österholm, MagnusBergqvist, Ewa
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Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC)Department of Science and Mathematics Education
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