Arithmetic in Urdu or Hindi?

bpj at bpj at
Wed Jun 18 09:47:39 UTC 1997

At 20:18 17.6.1997, Anand Venkt Raman wrote:
>>And about arithmetic signs, we used +, -, x, /. But we also used a
>>different kind of sign for division. I do not know if that sign is of
>>Indian origin or Western origin.
>Speaking of arithmetic, I have noticed while helping my neices
>and their classmates in NZ and Australia that a/b is called a over
>b and not a by b as I was accustomed to by my Indian training.
>Likewise a*b is called a times b instead of my a into b. In fact
>the nomenclature I am used to seems to mean quite the opposite, "by"
>seeming to imply "multiply by" and "into" meaning "divided into"!
>So used did I eventually get to using the new terminology that I
>started using dy over dx for dy/dx for them later only to be surprised
>that was still called "dy by dx"!
>Is this difference purely an Australasian phenomenon or is it also
>observed in America and Europe?
>If the difference is due to inversion of meaning due to Indians, I
>wonder what the historical or linguistic reasons could have been for

When learning English in 4-5 grade in Sweden I was taught the same system
as you were taught in India.  When later going to school in Canada I had to
relearn the same system as your niece, and US people use that universally
too AFAIK.

The Swedish language terminology seems to be a mixture: we say (translated
into English) a/b 'a through b' OR 'a divided by b' and a*b 'a times b'.
It seems my stepkids are unfamiliar with the 'through' version, except as
one of my oddities, that is :-)


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