# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?  (Read 4280 times)

#### Joe L. Ogan

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 476
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« on: 10/08/2010 22:53:38 »
Why is it that mathematics is so much more complicated than writing.  The alphabet has 26 symbols and mathematics has only ten. One would think that the more characters used the more complicated the subject.  Is this due to people learning to use words very early in life and do not learn to calculate mathematics until some later in life?
Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan

#### Ophiolite

• Hero Member
• Posts: 716
• Thanked: 6 times
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #1 on: 11/08/2010 09:38:59 »
< > + - / x ^ { } [ ] ( )
≥ ∞ √ ∩ ≠ ≡ ∑ ∏

Only ten?

#### LeeE

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 3382
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #2 on: 11/08/2010 18:28:45 »
The letters of the alphabet are analogous to numbers in mathematics are numbers, not the functional symbols.  The basic functional symbols used in writing English include .,';:()!?&£\$ but there are more, and you should really also include the various different types of accents used in other (non-English) languages.

The full-stop symbol is probably the best known functional symbol used in writing, denoting the end of a sentence e.g. this is the end of this sentence.  On the other hand, even some of the relatively simple functional symbols, such as the omissive and possessive apostrophes, are still problematic to many.

#### peppercorn

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1466
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #3 on: 11/08/2010 20:26:34 »
The alphabet has 26 symbols and mathematics has only ten.

Never mind confusing the question by adding functional symbols or operators to the list.
Our alphabet has 26 basic symbols and, if you like, numbers (without doing any maths) have a count of infinity.

Just because our standard is to express them in base ten doesn't stop them all being individual values. That would be like me saying all alphabets have only 2 symbols as I can express each letter in binary.

#### tommya300

• Hero Member
• Posts: 655
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #4 on: 11/08/2010 23:33:10 »
Alphabet, arithmetic, mathematics and a numerical system.
The English alphabet has A,a-Z,z
Greek alphabet... Alpha - Omega
Also other symbols other languages and alphabetical systems that contribute to the mathematics

I remember early learning to establish a foundation, the function of simple arithmetic is add subtract multiply and divide. The only complexity was the different forms that mean the same, and the larger cluster combinations of the ten basic numerical characters and it was all taught the basic base 10.

The numerical system is the ultimate that crosses over the whole communication barrier
0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
Yes there is ten characters, not symbols, but they are incomplete, e.g.

Yes any combination, which is commonly base 10, any value of any cluster are recognized by every Human no matter the level of education.
Primitive man struck a line which represented a quantity one .
What was the rep. for a zero, an absent 1, a crossed 1 or an X ? I do not know. Can you imagine trying to represent the quantity of 1000 by just using the scratched 1. The development of the ten numerical characters made that more efficient.
Base One, either it is there or not there may be the premium of simplicity.

But as numbers sit alone represent quantity, without unit purpose or without definition, by using any of the alphabets, are meaningless, quantity of what?

All in all, I think the question is a bit misleading.

« Last Edit: 11/08/2010 23:50:31 by tommya300 »

#### Bored chemist

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 8655
• Thanked: 42 times
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #5 on: 12/08/2010 06:56:59 »
The symbols are not the point. I can write one, two, three and so on.
I could find a copy of the proof of Fermat's last theorem and I could read it out loud. A good stenographer could note it down. Neither of us would understand it.

Most of the concepts used in language are fairly concrete.
On the other hand, most mathematical concepts are very abstract; most of them are abstractions of abstractions.
That's what makes them difficult.

#### tommya300

• Hero Member
• Posts: 655
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #6 on: 12/08/2010 14:26:32 »
The symbols are not the point. I can write one, two, three and so on.
I could find a copy of the proof of Fermat's last theorem and I could read it out loud. A good stenographer could note it down. Neither of us would understand it.

Most of the concepts used in language are fairly concrete.
On the other hand, most mathematical concepts are very abstract; most of them are abstractions of abstractions.
That's what makes them difficult.

BC let me ask you using an example.
Basic Calculus has a set of rules, I think to accomadate 10 basic equatic forms, I think it it 10.
After that the forms become a bit mor complicated and then a match was made from a table of different individual formulas, and plug and chug.
In three dimentional calculus it was the same only think was neccessary was good house keeping.

But when it came to DiffEQ it was not as straight forward as calculus.
There was a part of a differential equation that is like an offset and that changes with what it is being applied to.
What inspires this offset?

As all I can remember the second part was not straight forward to me.

It was long ago and it is a bit foggy, but the question I alway had was never satisfied that is what I remember the most.

.

#### lightarrow

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 4586
• Thanked: 7 times
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #7 on: 12/08/2010 14:30:57 »
Why is it that mathematics is so much more complicated than writing.
You will have the answer if you ask yourself: "Why is it that writing is so much more simple than mathematics?"

#### tommya300

• Hero Member
• Posts: 655
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #8 on: 12/08/2010 16:48:23 »
Why is it that mathematics is so much more complicated than writing.
You will have the answer if you ask yourself: "Why is it that writing is so much more simple than mathematics?"

Such as math, isn't there different grade or levels of writing.
Simple words are used to make a sentence common presentation of everyday life.
More complex words saying the same presents a more complicated writing, e.g presenting rules and law.
Employing the rules of constructing complex sentences are not straight and easy items to retain in memory or memorize. I call it precision writing, precisely written to confuse the non gifted.

Using a sloppy example, one word in a sentence can display a common denominator to interpretation, having 15 definitions????
Seeing the word, not being a Lawyer, I would say, "What does that mean?" A lawyer can diverge the meaning and you would not know the difference.
Just as BC said about the stenographer?  I agree, the symbol language used, is not in our everyday vocabulary of commonality.

I think that math and writing both have rules that can both escalate to a difficult understanding level.

To become more understanding to either one more efficiently, a constant repetition must be used, until it becomes second nature, and then you are ready for the next level.

« Last Edit: 12/08/2010 17:18:01 by tommya300 »

#### Joe L. Ogan

• Sr. Member
• Posts: 476
##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #9 on: 28/08/2010 02:25:11 »
Gee, I did not intend to be misleading!  Thanks for comments.  Joe l. Ogan
« Last Edit: 30/08/2010 14:57:49 by Joe L. Ogan »

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Why is mathematics so much more completed than writing?
« Reply #9 on: 28/08/2010 02:25:11 »