Revisiting Early Research on Early Language and Number Names

The University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education 2017;13(7b):4143–4156
Publish date: 2017-06-21
This article addresses the relationship between language and mathematical thinking by reconsidering early work on language and number names. The analysis examines theoretical assumptions, later empirical data, and critiques of those early studies. Researchers, practitioners, and curriculum designers in mathematics education working in multilingual settings need to develop an updated view of this early work on number names across languages, carefully considering what early research actually showed, how it has been critiqued, and how to theoretically frame claims about language and mathematical thinking. The analysis presented here suggests several ways to frame such an updated perspective, including work on linguistic relativity and ecological approaches to the relationship between language and mathematical thinking.
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