Thursday, March 7, 2013

Numeracy and Language

I posted this the other day over on my Corvid Apps blog and figured I should cross post it here.

Does the English Language Hinder Our Numeracy
What if the language you speak either helps or hinders your number sense?  This thought occurred to me the other day after a series of events:

The first was my brother and I were watching our kids play.  His son, who is 2.5 was counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16.  He skipped 13.  Young children are often stumbling and skipping over numbers through the teens.  I commented that our numbers really don't make sense anyway.  When counting in Japanese it is very simple.  You say the words for one, two, three through ten, and then after that you say ten-one(11), ten-two(12), ten-three(13), ten-four(14), ten-five(15), ten-six(16), ten-seven(17), ten-eight(18), ten-nine(19), two-ten(20), two-ten-one(21), two-ten-two(22), etc.  Even when they write out numbers as words the characters follow the same pattern.  My point is, do Japanese speaking children stumble over the teens as much as English speaking children?


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