By doing so they torpedo their own ship and demonstrate that they do not understand the meaning of their own profession. They thereby contribute to the decline in the estimation in which the society holds their profession. The author's rebuke is timely and justified but, to my great disappointment, earlier in the essay Lo Bello asserts - in my view somewhat contradictorily - that. All mathematics begins with definitions, so that first observation to be made about a mathematician is that he is the sort of a person who requires that all technical terms be defined, and that all common words be used properly in accordance with their accepted meanings.
So, whereas I understand the point the author attempts to make, I feel that the point of view expressed in the latter quotation might have been adopted by a bureaucratic teacher whose attitude the author is censoring later on. I believe and think many will agree with me that, although it is impossible to underestimate the role of definitions in mathematical discourse and actually in any other kind of communication between us humans , in the work of a mathematician definitions often come late in the process, as a means of organizing the results and sharing with the community.
My other observation concerns frequent severity of the judgment the author often doles out. Here are a couple of examples. In the entry "Abelian" the author explains why such terms need to be written with the first letter capital and passes a judgment. Humanity defers in such matters to those with taste, and only those with no taste write abelian. Curiously, Schwartzman's entry is in the low case, and so it appears in about a third of a score of algebra books in my library.
I remember reading somewhere an explanation for such a usage. Unfortunate as it may be, people tried to express an extra appreciation for Abel's bringing to light, distilling such an ubiquitous, fundamental property of some mathematical operations. This is certainly a special case deserving perhaps special consideration and some leniency. A series is often represented as the sum of a sequence of terms. In general mathematical use, however, term is not limited to additive expressions. Individual factors in an expression representing a product are multiplicative terms.
Indeed, individual elements of any mathematical expression may be referred to as "terms". Terms also appear in logic.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Simplifying heroically. In the beginning the main centre was in Italy but later the action moved north and west. In the beginning most of the French literature was produced in France but later French was adopted as an international language. See Katz Part IV. However when Poland was reconstuted after the First World War Polish mathematicians chose French as their international language: see the journal Fundamenta Mathematicae. Latin melted away.
There is a large body of native English speakers doing mathematics and English is more dominant internationally than French and German were in the past. The Latin, French, German and English have been at different times international or in a smaller world world languages. M athematics in English: behind the table. Before Before —off the table. There was not much demand for English mathematical words. By the middle of the C14 French was no longer an official language in England but it remained important because ideas from the rest of the world generally came through France. By the C14 English was the language of lowland Scotland.
With the Reformation of the C16 Latin ceased to be the language of religion. Scholars wrote in Latin but a market developed for mathematical works in English—especially after the introduction of printing. Many words were borrowed from Greek and Latin. Towards the end of the period a brilliant group of mathematicians appeared of whom the best known is Newton.
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In this period—for the first time—important original work appears in English. Mathematics in English is not the same as mathematics done by the English for Scottish and Irish mathematicians also wrote in English and the British Empire took English all over the world.
In the early part of this period the most important mathematical work in the European tradition was being done on the Continent of Europe. Before the C20 the only mathematicians who wrote in English lived in English-speaking countries. Today English is used by anybody anywhere. I have been referring to English mathematical words without questioning the notion of Englishness. Linguists are familiar with the varieties of English around the world and their differences in vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, etc.
D ifferences in the mathematical languages of the varieties of English seem trivial. American English and British English are the two most important national forms and Earliest Uses entries indicate some differences. Math and Maths. When everyday words are given a mathematical sense some of the zest is lost if the word is not an everyday one in the other variety; in British English the word JACKKNIFE is not an everyday word and has currency only as a technical term in Statistics. A difference in pronunciation mathematicians will notice is that of the Greek letters Beta, Zeta, etc.
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Of course, these four languages are not the only ones that are reflected in modern English but mathematical terms originating in, say, Arabic e. The small number of loan-words from a particular language may bear little relation to the extent of mathematics developed in that language; see e. The order in which the languages are presented may seem strange but it reflects the rough order in which mathematical words from those languages first came directly into English. There appear to be no works specialising in mathematical terms but several treat the foreign origins of English words in general use: at the scholarly end there is Serjeantson and at the popular end there is Metcalf.
Lurquin works in the opposite direction from the source language s. Shipley and Watkins consider the place of English in the Indo-European language family. The Wikipedia articles show how English has borrowed extensively from Arabic, Russian and Italian but not many mathematical words are included. To contents. To Provenance.
The contribution of Old English. Only a minority of the words of Modern English are derived from Old English. Crystal p. There was a literary tradition in Old English—the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the C9 has been described as the first continuous history of any Western people in their own language. But there was no mathematical literature and therefore no specialised mathematical vocabulary for Latin and French words to augment or to displace.
These words illustrate some general points about the Old English presence in the modern language. Harper also treats the other number words. The contribution of Latin. Latin Wikipedia , as the language of the Roman Empire, had a profound influence on all the languages of Western Europe.
It had most influence on the languages that are its direct descendants, the Romance languages Wikipedia. One of these, French , had a very strong influence on English. In all parts of Western Europe Latin was used in conjunction with the local language for religious, political and scholarly purposes.
If we count by years, Latin has been the most important language of mathematics in the European tradition. Yet as a language of mathematics, Latin presents a paradox:. Latin only became a dead language in mathematics at the end of the C Before then new works were published in Latin and new words were created or old ones given new meanings. The first Englishmen recorded in histories of mathematics were translators of Arabic into Latin : Adelard of Bath and Robert of Chester fl.
The Italian mathematicians of the medieval and early Renaissance periods, Fibonacci , Tartlaglia and Cardano , all wrote in Latin. One English contributor was Thomas Bradwardine ca. The death of Latin. By the end of the C19 Latin had ceased to be a living language for mathematicians and ceased to be the international language for mathematics.
Gray describes the linguistic situation at the turn of the C Latin mathematics and English words.