A little rant (math vs. maths)

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cmacis
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A little rant (math vs. maths)

Postby cmacis » Tue May 01, 2007 10:23 pm UTC

It's maths, not math. Look at the long version: mathematics. Math doesn't roll off the toungue as well with the hard sound at the end. Please pay respect to this fine ancient subject that is as relevant today as it was with the divine Pythagorean brotherhood and pronounce it nicely.

Maths.
Maths.


Maths.
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Re: A little rant

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 01, 2007 10:29 pm UTC

cmacis wrote:Maths.


Piss off, you limey bastard.

It's "math". And "th" is no harder a sound than "s". I'd even argue that it's softer, as most commonly spoken.
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Postby crazyjimbo » Tue May 01, 2007 10:32 pm UTC

I've got to side with the Yanks on this one. 'Math' just sounds better. Yea, 'maths' is probably more correct, but bollocks to correctness.

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Re: A little rant

Postby bbctol » Tue May 01, 2007 10:33 pm UTC

cmacis wrote:Math.


Fixed.

"Math" is much easier to pronounce then "maths". What the hell is up with "ths", anyway?

And "mathematics" is a singular noun, too, by the way. So "math" is clearly the superior, and more correct.

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Postby cmacis » Tue May 01, 2007 10:34 pm UTC

Okay, what does the rest of the world think? Is it only us brits that use maths?

While I'm in rant mode. A billion is a thousand million, 10^9. There are no billionaires apart from in those low currencies.
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Postby SpitValve » Tue May 01, 2007 10:35 pm UTC

The argument I see for "Math" is that the "ths" sound can be a little tricky on the tongue.

But I stick with "maths" just because "math" sounds cheesy and American. Like "gym class" or taco bell.

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Postby Vaniver » Tue May 01, 2007 10:54 pm UTC

Math > Maths.

While I'm in rant mode. A billion is a thousand million, 10^9. There are no billionaires apart from in those low currencies.
Bwuh? You're using the short scale, of which there are many, in rather valuable currencies. If you were using the long scale (10^12), then you might have an argument that there weren't any.
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Postby EvanED » Tue May 01, 2007 10:57 pm UTC

And it IS pronounced 'zed'! Not 'zee'. 'Zed'!


Sorry.

(Actually, in the Hitchhiker's movie, I didn't like how they referred to ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha with 'zee's. The characters are British, they should have said 'zed' like in the BBC series. ;-))

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Postby cmacis » Tue May 01, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

Bugger, I used the american billion when I wanted to propose the british billion. I have the tendency to do that.

To reiterate. Billion is 10^12 and is a million million.

Yes, I was so happy when the series used zed zed plural zed alpha.
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QED is Latin for small empty box.

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Postby bbctol » Tue May 01, 2007 11:00 pm UTC

I actually pronounce it "zed", to confuse people and because it sounds better.

But back to the pro-math jihad!

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Postby cmacis » Tue May 01, 2007 11:03 pm UTC

Just to confuse everyone who hasn't met someone from Newcastle. z=x+iy, no. z=x+yi (said "zed equals ex plus why eye").
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QED is Latin for small empty box.

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Postby Token » Tue May 01, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

bbctol wrote:And "mathematics" is a singular noun, too, by the way. So "math" is clearly the superior, and more correct.

What's with that argument? You say that a singular word has an 's' on the end, so another very similar singular word shouldn't? How does that work?

Personally, I think maths is superior a) because I'm British and b) because we used to use the 'math' pronunciation, combined with a ridiculously fake and geeky American accent, to mock the subject/ourselves at school.

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Postby cmacis » Tue May 01, 2007 11:16 pm UTC

You mocked maths but have location as Cambridge?

Excuse me while I have a heart attack :P
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QED is Latin for small empty box.

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Postby PaulT » Tue May 01, 2007 11:21 pm UTC

I'm British, so prefer "maths", but 10^9 for a billion. Arguing for 10^12 is a bit of a lost cause really. "Math" doesn't make any sense anyway, since as we all know, the word "maths" is an acronym, standing for 'Mathematical Anti-Telharsic Harfatum Septomin".

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Postby Token » Tue May 01, 2007 11:30 pm UTC

A quick checking of the OED (disclaimer: OED and any establishments affiliated with it represent Satan himself, and I am not responsible for any consequences that using information gleaned from it may cause) reveals that the word "mathematics" was originally a plural. Hence "maths" is a correct abbreviation, even if we now treat it gramatically as a singular.

Oh, and I'm allowed to mock maths, because I spend so much of my time doing it. :D

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Postby Vaniver » Tue May 01, 2007 11:40 pm UTC

Bugger, I used the american billion when I wanted to propose the british billion. I have the tendency to do that.

To reiterate. Billion is 10^12 and is a million million.
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Postby jestingrabbit » Wed May 02, 2007 12:02 am UTC

Maths here in Australia. Oh, and the number 101 is pronounced "one hundred and one".

But this stuff is like arguing over the spelling of colour.

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Postby The LuigiManiac » Wed May 02, 2007 12:05 am UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Maths here in Australia. Oh, and the number 101 is pronounced "one hundred and one".

But this stuff is like arguing over the spelling of colour.


At the risk of going off topic further:

"Tire" and "Aluminium"
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Postby william » Wed May 02, 2007 12:19 am UTC

Actually, Math is more correct than Maths, given that the "-ics" ending is actually considered as a singular rather than a plural ending for confusing reasons leading back to the original Greek and Latin--the Greek and Latin words for math were singular("mathematica" or something along those lines, as a feminine singular) and the "-ics" ending arose before the "-s" was cemented as a plural ending. If the OED said "mathematics" was originally plural, it's wrong. It was originally singular. Also, I think "math" rolls off the tongue better than "maths" and the "ths", like most combinations of two fricatives put together, sounds really awkward.

Also, I only pronounce it "zed" in the phrase "ZedPM" because David Hewlett is awesome.
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Postby cmacis » Wed May 02, 2007 12:22 am UTC

At least most of us can be glad that English is the accepted language for maths pretty much across the board.
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Postby Xial » Wed May 02, 2007 12:25 am UTC

cmacis wrote:At least most of us can be glad that English is the accepted language for maths pretty much across the board.


Well I don't know about that...but it certainly is the accepted language for math :wink:

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Postby Pathway » Wed May 02, 2007 12:51 am UTC

cmacis wrote:Bugger, I used the american billion when I wanted to propose the british billion. I have the tendency to do that.

To reiterate. Billion is 10^12 and is a million million.

Yes, I was so happy when the series used zed zed plural zed alpha.


We Americans outnumber the British by a factor of 6, and the Aussies by a factor of 15.

I think that means we get to decide arbitrary questions of nomenclature.

Besides, since when does "Math" not roll off the tongue?
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Postby cmacis » Wed May 02, 2007 12:54 am UTC

because it finishes with the "th" sound which is much nicer when softened with the 's'.

Ah, but if you count those who went before us as well....
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Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 02, 2007 12:58 am UTC

cmacis wrote:Ah, but if you count those who went before us as well....


But you can only count those back to the time when populations split into British and American. Before that, we've as much claim to the predecessors as you do.

(Just because you still live in the place where the language we speak happened to first develop doesn't mean your version is more correct. You didn't invent the language. Linguistic ancestors of both of us invented it when they happened to live in England.)
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Postby EvanED » Wed May 02, 2007 12:58 am UTC

cmacis wrote:because it finishes with the "th" sound which is much nicer when softened with the 's'.

Ah, but if you count those who went before us as well....


Most of the people who have ever lived are alive now, so I doubt that would make a difference.

'ths' is hard to say. I think 'math' rolls of the tongue a lot better than 'maths' personally.

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Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 02, 2007 12:59 am UTC

EvanED wrote:Most of the people who have ever lived are alive now, so I doubt that would make a difference.


How do you figure that?

Even if you take the low low estimate of 200 million people on Earth from 1AD to 1900 (all but a negligible fraction of whom are dead now), each and every one of which lived for 100 years, that gives 4 billion right there. And when you consider how that population estimate is rediculously low and the lifespan one rediculously high, you get well over 6.5 billion people who've been alive since the time of Christ.

Nevermind the hundred millennia or so before that...
Last edited by gmalivuk on Wed May 02, 2007 1:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cmacis » Wed May 02, 2007 1:01 am UTC

I'm sure that I read (AC Clarke?) that the dead outnumber us 30:1 (counting back to ape-man) and that this is roughly number to the number of stars in the galaxy?
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QED is Latin for small empty box.

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Postby FiddleMath » Wed May 02, 2007 1:05 am UTC

The LuigiManiac wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:At the risk of going off topic further:

"Tire" and "Aluminium"

Er... y'all don't all pronounce "tire" as "tar"? Why not? :)

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Postby EvanED » Wed May 02, 2007 1:05 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
EvanED wrote:Most of the people who have ever lived are alive now, so I doubt that would make a difference.


How do you figure that?


Wow, looks like I am flat out wrong, but fell into a common rumor.

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Postby SpitValve » Wed May 02, 2007 1:09 am UTC

cmacis wrote:I'm sure that I read (AC Clarke?) that the dead outnumber us 30:1 (counting back to ape-man) and that this is roughly number to the number of stars in the galaxy?


Using the short scale (i.e. American scale, but generally becoming more popular in the UK - at Oxford they talk about how Gaia will catalogue "a billion" stars...)

20 * 6 billion = 120 billion

There are about 200ish billion stars in the Milky Way. So that's the general ballpark at least.

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Postby The LuigiManiac » Wed May 02, 2007 1:14 am UTC

FiddleMath wrote:
The LuigiManiac wrote:At the risk of going off topic further:

"Tire" and "Aluminium"

Er... y'all don't all pronounce "tire" as "tar"? Why not? :)


I don't know, just somthing I grew up with I guess. I saw it spelled tire before I ever saw it spelt tyre.

EDIT: Fixed quote string.
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Postby Pathway » Wed May 02, 2007 1:22 am UTC

http://www.google.com/search?q=math
Results 1 - 10 of about 125,000,000 for math


http://www.google.com/search?q=maths
Results 1 - 10 of about 24,700,000 for maths


"Math" is used, then, about 5.06 times as frequently.
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Postby Peshmerga » Wed May 02, 2007 1:53 am UTC

Maths does sound cooler and more mathy...
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Postby SpitValve » Wed May 02, 2007 2:13 am UTC

Peshmerga wrote:Maths does sound cooler and more mathy...


More mathsy

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Postby skeptical scientist » Wed May 02, 2007 2:15 am UTC

I can't even pronounce "maths". But I love it when my professors say things like "zed" and "coROLlary" with the accent on the middle syllable.
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Postby MFHodge » Wed May 02, 2007 1:41 pm UTC

There is a great blog about difference in American English and British English. Here is her entry on math(s).

Also:
1) Zed sounds awesome, but should be saved for special occasions and not just stuck in the alphabet.
2) Billion is clearly 1,000 millions. Don't even try to argue; I'll just put my fingers in my ears.

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Postby cmacis » Wed May 02, 2007 1:49 pm UTC

There's a good wikipedia article on words that we both use but use differently. One that cracked me up was 'bugger'. Here it is the act or the person doing the act of anal sex. Over there, wikipedia informs me, it is used as a term for a young child.

Also, I think I heard that smoking a fag has very different meanings here and there. It's something you can do in public for now here, but not for long.
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Postby Gelsamel » Wed May 02, 2007 1:50 pm UTC

Zed does not rhyme with Pee or Gee.

Also, I say Math, because it's much easier.

And what the hell do other people call "tire"s?
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Wed May 02, 2007 2:18 pm UTC

both definitions of billion are rubbish. 10^9 is best said as 10^9 or giga- and 10^12 as 10^12 or tera-

oh and maths is definitely maths. you yanks and aussies may outnumber us brits, but we get to decide because of our inherent smug superiority ;)
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Postby PaulT » Wed May 02, 2007 2:43 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:And what the hell do other people call "tire"s?

We call them 'tyre's. Since that's their name.


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