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 Are Mathematicians Turning Soft? - Keith Devlin (Devlin's Angle) An article about 'soft mathematics'. "...In order to capture some of the abstract patterns and structures of mind and language, linguists sometimes find it convenient (perhaps necessary) to make use of mathematics, or at least mathematical notation or techniques. The result is not that linguistics becomes part of mathematics, or even a "mathematical science" (in the sense of, say, physics). The aim is not to prove theorems. There might not be any relevant theorems to prove. Ever. There might not even be any deep or revealing definitions. The aim is to do linguistics, to understand language and investigate the way people use language to communicate.... I view it as an affirmation of the incredible power of mathematics that even its simplest elements can be put to good use by others." more>> A Playground of Thoughts - Takasugi Shinji Takasugi's "Number Systems of the World" lists dozens of languages; how to count from zero to one hundred in each; and the mathematical meaning of the expressions for each numeral. For example, the French say "93" with quatre-vingt-treize, which means "4 × 20 + 13," while the Huli speakers of Papua New Guinea, who count in a quindecimal system (base 15), say ngui waraga, ngui kane-gonaga tebira, which means "(15 × 6) + (three objects of the seventh 15)." With references, trees of language families, native speaker population estimates, and geographic areas. The Japanese engineer and recreational linguist's "playground" also includes several mathematical Java applets: "Number Place Puzzle" solves sudoku grids from 4×4 in size to 25×25; "Alphametic Puzzle" deciphers letter-number puzzles such as SEND + MORE = MONEY; and "Mandelbrot Microscope" shows the fractals of the Mandelbrot set and Julia sets. more>>
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