Commas and Decimal Points in Currency NotationsDate: 11/08/2007 at 11:53:34 From: Katherine Subject: Decimal point versus comma use in currency Why do the Eurolanders use the comma in currency instead of the decimal point as in the States? Date: 11/09/2007 at 22:20:29 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Decimal point versus comma use in currency Hi, Katherine. During the 1600's there were many competing notations for decimals, of which the comma and period were the two winners. Here's what Cajori, in A History of Mathematical Notations, says about one point in the conflict (p. 328): In the eighteenth century, trials of strength between the comma and the dot as the separatrix were complicated by the fact that Leibniz had proposed the dot as the symbol of multiplication .... As a symbol for multiplication the dot was seldom used in England during the eighteenth century, Oughtred's X being generally preferred. For this reason, the dot as a separatrix enjoyed an advantage in England during the eighteenth century which it did not enjoy on the continent. In the end, the comma won on the continent of Europe; the dot was used in England, though commonly raised rather than on the line (with the low dot used for multiplication). In America the usage varied at first, but has settled down to the low dot for the decimal separator, and a raised dot for multiplication. If you have any further questions, feel free to write back. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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