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Math/Maths

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Hummingbird
206906.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:10 am Reply with quote

Like many others, I have a fondness for those "nerds solve murders" crime series that are pouring out of the US at the moment. I watch CSIs Vegas, Miami and New York and NCIS. In fact it is possible to fill all my available TV watching time with blood, gore and bullets now we have 5 US on the Freeview box.

Anyway. I digress.

The latest addition to the genre is Numbers; maths geek solves serial murder puzzles with equations and a moody stare.

The thing is they keep calling it "Math" and not maths, which is what I always call counting and stuff. I mean it's a shortened version of mathematics, which definitely has an S on the end.

It's annoying me.

SO what I want you to tell me is this:

Is it a mere affectation, an Americanism or correct, and I'm ignorant?

I'm hoping it's the latter and then it can stop bugging me.

 
djgordy
206918.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:33 am Reply with quote

Hummingbird wrote:
I mean it's a shortened version of mathematics, which definitely has an S on the end.


On the other hand, it doesn't have an "s" in the middle; it isn't "mathsematics". So if you shorten "mathematics" you get "math".

 
npower1
206925.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:04 am Reply with quote

Without looking up definitions (because dictionaries tell you what you should mean when using a word, whereas each time you, or I, use that word we have our own internal definition built up over our lifetime) maths (or even math) have different meanings to different people.


I think of maths as the whole body of logically connected symbol manipulation which occasionally can be used to help our understanding and altering of the physical world. I suspect that most people when hearing the word maths actually attach the meaning that I would describe as numeracy (which is different to what the British national curriculum describes as numeracy (this is poorly thought out, badly biased, probably the major cause of the failings in our education system)).

Math, or maths, is unimportant.

 
Hummingbird
206943.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:59 am Reply with quote

" Math, or maths, is unimportant."

Oh yes it is. It drives me nuts.

Maths for me means the whole thing - symbol manipulation to solve complex equations as well as what used to be called Sums in infant schools.

From digging in a few dictionaries it seems it's a British/American thing. In the UK we say maths.

I feel a bit better now.

Bloody yanks..............

 
getmeaguiness
206945.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:03 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I feel a bit better now.

Bloody yanks..............


So you are only complaining about the Americans from north of the Mason Dixie Line. My good lady is from Loosyanna and has coniptions if you call her a yank. She is a true blue southern redneck and proud of it.

:)

 
StarshipTrooper
206950.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:09 am Reply with quote

When i was in primary school me and my friends were convince we invented the word conniption don't ask me where we got that idea from , but we were very disappointed to find it in a book from a few years before

 
Hummingbird
206951.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:10 am Reply with quote

That's enough Americans to be getting on with.

I feel another thread coming on - why do the Brits call the Americans Yanks?

Not that we do much any more. It's a wartime thing. Yankee go home and all that.

I love "coniptions". What a wonderful word. I shall try to bring it into my conversations today.

 
Bakhesh
206968.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:47 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Hummingbird wrote:
I mean it's a shortened version of mathematics, which definitely has an S on the end.


On the other hand, it doesn't have an "s" in the middle; it isn't "mathsematics". So if you shorten "mathematics" you get "math".


Errr....thats because its a plural.

If you had a load of video tapes, would you shorten that to video or videos?

 
Celebaelin
206976.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:55 am Reply with quote

In English 'mathematics' is singular.

I choose to ignore that though and agree with Hummingbird; it's a matter of referring to the multiple and quite different mathematical approaches available.

 
Hummingbird
206978.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:57 am Reply with quote

Good point.

See, the yanks are just wrong.

 
djgordy
207163.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:57 pm Reply with quote

Bakhesh wrote:
Quote:

On the other hand, it doesn't have an "s" in the middle; it isn't "mathsematics". So if you shorten "mathematics" you get "math".


Errr....thats because its a plural.


Wrong. "Mathematics" is a singular noun.

Mathematics singular noun: the science dealing with measurements, numbers, quantities, and shapes, usually expressed as symbols.

http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main?title=21st&query=mathematics

As the definition says, it is the name of a science just as "biology" and "chemistry" are the names of sciences.

 
Bakhesh
207165.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:08 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:

Wrong. "Mathematics" is a singular noun.

Mathematics singular noun: the science dealing with measurements, numbers, quantities, and shapes, usually expressed as symbols.

http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main?title=21st&query=mathematics

As the definition says, it is the name of a science just as "biology" and "chemistry" are the names of sciences.


Fair enough.

Whats the plural form then?

 
djgordy
207169.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:18 pm Reply with quote

The plural would be the same as the singular; as with "sheep", "fish" etc.

(It might be argued that there cannot be a plural of mathematics because it refers to the whole of the science; there cannot be something which is mathematics yet which lies outside the body of mathematics to form a rival mathematical science.)

 
smiley_face
207171.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:23 pm Reply with quote

I (for some reason) thought that, in days gone by, mathematics was plural, referring collectively to the subjects of algebra, calculus, geometry etc. etc.

 
djgordy
207172.  Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:29 pm Reply with quote

In days gone by it was plural for that very reason. The term "mathematics" used to include astronomy and optics. Before that though it was singular "mathematic" until about the start of the 17th century.


Last edited by djgordy on Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

 

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