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Topic: How would YOU simplify arithmetic?
Replies: 41   Last Post: Jul 11, 2012 12:56 AM

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 Robert Hansen Posts: 11,345 From: Florida Registered: 6/22/09
Re: How would YOU simplify arithmetic?
Posted: Jun 26, 2012 8:49 AM

On Jun 26, 2012, at 8:01 AM, Joe Niederberger wrote:

> Haim's quip about ten irregular names is a one sentence strawman.

Come on. Crabtree was pretty specific that a major impediment to learning to count past 10 was the teens. There should be a name for misusing "strawman" because I see it misused a lot.

> I'm not going to recite at length from Galdwell's book, or other related material. I'll just repeat one standard "example" that's been bandied about and seems to get at least some people's attention. This example certainly does not summarize all the various musings about language differences in arithmetic.
>
> Example: suppose instead of twenty-three we learn to say two-tens-three, and instead of thirty-five we say three-tens-two. Now, what is three-tens-five plus two-tens-three?
>
> Some people feel that this allow the language processing
> brain to line up better, (an EE type might say with a better "impedance" match), to the math at hand.
>
> (All the obvious criticisms about additions with carries etc. are here ignored.)
>
> The question this example raises for me is, does this kind of language shift allow a child to "get it" faster?
> Does it facilitate in an entirely natural way some of the conceptual work that is often addressed more laboriously by those pictures you (R.H.) disdain so much?
>
> Some people think the answer is an obvious "yes" or "no". I think its worth an investigation.

It wasn't that simple. I definitely saw very little to gain (I don't think the impediment is significant at all) but my whole conclusion was that it wasn't worth the trouble that would be involved in a language change and would probably cause more harm than good. It would take a couple of generations in order to accomplish such a feat and during that time it would be chaotic having two sets of numbers. In fact, when it comes to the numbers 11 through 19, we would probably end up with some sort of half assed bilingual result.

>
> Joe N