Math Mathematics as a language?

Is math a language?

  • Yes, I think mathematics is a language

    Votes: 28 75.7%
  • No, mathematics can't be considered a language

    Votes: 9 24.3%

  • Total voters
    37

fireballs619

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The concept of mathematics as a language is somewhat familiar to me, as I am sure it is to most of you. I recently engaged in a debate with my English teacher, who laughed when I listed mathematics as a language that we knew of. Usually, I would not have pressed the subject further, but this was for points on a test, so I was naturally inclined to argue my point. This got me to thinking, however, on if mathematics really is a language. One of the key points that my teacher made in her stance on the subject is that you cannot convey emotion through mathematics. On the spot, I could not think of an instance where mathematics conveys emotion, so I was forced to concede my point. When I say emotion, I do not mean a specific feeling; I mean something similar to how a song can seem upbeat or sad depending on its pitch and tempo. I still think that mathematics is a language, since you can convey ideas with it, but I am curious as to what others think.
 

Artlav

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Language is a vessel to carry over ideas.
For that, mathematics can be very useful.

But, it's not a general purpose language.
 

Nazban

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The thig a bout mathematics is that it is universal, it is followed everywhere, only the style of writing it is different, so it can be universally accepted as a way of communications(ie-a language)
 

garyw

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I'm no mathematician but I'm starting to understand it a lot better these days and I was recently reading a wikipedia article which went from English to mathematics to explain a concept.
For the first time I was able to go from English to math and understand the concepts written in the math. I got a view of what people mean when they say that to understand some concepts you need to understand mathematics.

I think that it's a wonderful supplement to a language but not a language of itself as it's missing many concepts a language requires, e.g. gender.
 

Xyon

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One of the main reasons I love maths is because it works the same in every country. I'm not sure if that makes it a language, though.
 

Goth

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I mean something similar to how a song can seem upbeat or sad depending on its pitch and tempo.
Pitch and tempo can be controlled by mathematics, obtaining nice results too.
 

Izack

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On the spot, I could not think of an instance where mathematics conveys emotion, so I was forced to concede my point.
useless.jpg


That aside, I agree with Artlav in that it is a language in the sense that it can convey ideas (Momentum is a function of mass and velocity: p = m v) but it cannot be used in a meaningful conversation...not very well, anyway. :shifty:
 

C3PO

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No! You can't say "beer" in mathematics. :lol:

:cheers:
 

Urwumpe

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You can. If you first of all define what beer is.

But mathematics isn't a really clear language... I can tell you a lot of ways how you can make something impossible to understand and still valid math. If you ever publish something mathematical as scientist, learn writing comments and explaining your math, even if you think your mathematics say it all. It isn't the case.

There is a great German book about writing and reading math, I can recommend it, but I am not aware about it being translated into other languages.
 

statickid

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I think of it more as a kind of a specialized symbolic shorthand for an extremely logical way of thinking. everything written down in "math" form can be said using the language of the mathematician. Every operation that can be done can be explained in detail. However there is a new word to describe that process, and each word corresponds with a concise symbol for clarity. In this way I see math as a thought process or set of ideas that people can share, and there are some international symbols that people recognize. It's kind of like the red circle and slash "no" symbol. people familiar with even the most slightly developed nation are likely to understand it.

I would say it is a somewhat "universal symbol set" or if I were forced to argue, I might say that it is an internationally recognized written code for conveying ideas about math.
 
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martins

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Mathematics not a language? What next? Are you going to tell me that the binary language of moisture vaporators "is not really a language"?
 

C3PO

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Mathematics not a language? What next? Are you going to tell me that the binary language of moisture vaporators "is not really a language"?

I'm fluent in that one! :rofl:
 

Ghostrider

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Mathematics is a language the same way COBOL is a language. You can express some concepts with it, but it's not a language the way English is a language. There is no culture substrata behind it, and I think expressing subjective or figurative concepts would be in the unfeasibility range. It can however be used to build a common set of symbols that can allow one to understand a proper spoken language.
 

Mister Mxyzptlk

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As language is a codified set of symbols, symbols that represent objects or concepts on a 1to1 corelation, of course mathematics is a language. Those who believe otherwise are not clear on the concept. Just because math can't represent emotional content doesn't disqualify it. Many languages are deficient of symbolic representation for many concepts. As I understand it Hopi doesn't have symbols (words) to represent the past or the future tense, everything is "now", yet it is still a bonafide language.
 

Keatah

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Mathematics not a language? What next? Are you going to tell me that the binary language of moisture vaporators "is not really a language"?

I honest to goodness finished up a pic to control our humidifiers. I made the control panel real simple. On button, off button, 0-9 keys, and 4 7-segment led digits to display requested and actual humidity.


Mathematics a language? Why not? Not all languages can convey the same info as others.
The English language can do a lot of stuff. Mathematics other stuff. And body language yet different things. Programming things like C# and COBOL express other stuff, yet!

While body language is good for wooing men and women, I would not expect to give a lecture in celestial mechanics using it.. Unless you wanna start flinging your arms in big circles like an idiot.

---------- Post added at 09:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:51 PM ----------

I took a brief look at the lojban site and all I gotta say is it's a make-work pet-project thing.

If we're ghunna convey info, then we best do our best to make our point in the best way possible. And it be your responsibility to make sure you understand exactly what is being said. Leave no ambiguities!

Laziness (you slackerz yous) is most often responsible for communication error.
 
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fireballs619

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I agree with essentially all of the points here. My teacher still does not agree with me, but to each their own I suppose. I asked again about it today, and she said that, aside from the inability to express emotion, Math can only convey a narrow amount of ideas, such as measurements or values. I realized then that she didn't really understand math's full extent of meaning, so I quit arguing. Perhaps this will be a nice topic for a persuasive essay, but that is for another time I suppose :thumbup:
 
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