# Speaking In Numbers: The Language Of Mathematics

Literacy is commonly used to refer to one’s ability to speak and decipher a language. However, it is possible to be literate in areas or skills besides traditional spoken language. For example, it is possible to be literate in sign language, or mathematics. After all, mathematics is defined by Dictionary.com as “the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically.” Language, on the other hand, is defined by Dictionary.com as “any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.” As mathematics is a system of symbols, it can

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By this time, I was lounging in a chair behind a desk covered in trigonometric tables, although I continued to store a snack underneath. Calculus was one of my favorite math classes with algebra a close second. I didn’t appreciate geometry and trigonometry in the same way because I found mathematical proofs to be boring, tedious, and useless as someone else had already proven everything I did so it didn’t matter to me if I did also. My literacy sponsor was my teacher, Mr. Luke, he had been a teacher for longer than I had been alive and loved not only his job, but mathematics as well. I distinctly recall on the first day of class when he announced “Some of the problems you see here will not have numbers.” Gasps and groans accompanied this statement from a nervous group of juniors. There was a specific day reviewing homework when I was trying to explain how I solved a homework problem, and in the process, ending up taking the marker from him and drawing diagrams on the board. That moment is one of my most memorable and a catalyst for my desire to be a math teacher. Not all of the moments were positive of course, I got a zero on an algebra two test, when all of my answers were correct, because I wrote them in the wrong form. Those times when the attention to detail math requires occasionally frustrated me as well as when math was not applicable to my own life. Calculus was a class that I found

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It is universal in many ways and I want to share this view and enthusiasm for numbers with secondary students. Learning how to read, write, and speak in mathematics was a step towards accomplishing this and advanced in a similar way to learning traditional languages. Observing each of the numerical figures, (see appendix) it is possible to see the progression in the level of math as well as how increased fluency would be required to comprehend it, which corresponds to development in traditional languages and demonstrates mathematics as a language which literacy can be achieved in. Therefore, mathematics is a language that it is possible to be literate in as I have explored in my own education