# Explaining math to people...

Registered User regular
edited October 2008
Hey, so, I'm trying to tell some Chinese people how to talk about math. Is there a means to verbalize √5(2√5-√2)^2 and/or [√5(2√5-√2)]^2 such that one cannot be confused with another?

I was thinking about (for the first one) "the square root of five times the second power of the difference of two times the square root of five and the square root of two". For the second, "the second power of the product of the square root of five and the difference of two times the square root of five and the square root of two".

Is that right, or am I missing something? Is there a better, simpler way of saying it?

Loren Michael on

## Posts

• San DiegoRegistered User regular
edited October 2008
I would just read character-by-character. Your way is more accurate, but this is simpler, and closer to what I would say in real life.

√5(2√5-√2)^2

[√5(2√5-√2)]^2

Well, you wrote brackets, but normally I would have just used more parentheses.

There's a little more ambiguity in mine, especially with regards to what's in the square root and what's not, but you don't seem to be doing anything complicated that would require more specific wording. And if you're actually teaching them as opposed to just agreeing on a common usage, then I guess "The square root of five" would be more correct than "rad five."

Orogogus on
• Registered User regular
edited October 2008
We'd use the term all for when we needed to indicate a brackets. So 2 root 5 minus root 2 ALL squared times root 5.

The second would be root 5 times the difference of 2 root 5 minus root 2 ALL squared.

But in all honesty, people do not have the ability to conceptualise verbal information and should just be given access to paper or a whiteboard etc.

Rook on
• Registered User regular
edited October 2008
Not to sound like a jerk, but I think you should put a few commas in there because I couldn't even finish reading that first example.

Peas on
• Registered User regular
edited October 2008
not to sound like a jerk, but why would you need to explain math to Chinese people?*

*i kid, i kid

Anyway, math equations are very difficult to "read out loud", which is the entire reason behind math having its own written language.... is there any specific reason why you're trying to verbalize the equations rather than writing them on a board?

illig on
• Jersey CityRegistered User regular
edited October 2008
[√5(2√5-√2)]^2 = two square-root five minus square root two, multiply that by square root five, and then square the result.

You retain order of operations by separating it into the flow of the sentence. Split it into a sequence of equations, or how you would punch it into a crappy calculator.

EggyToast on
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• Registered User regular
edited October 2008
When I'm explaining confusing aspects of parentheses to my students, I tend to use dramatic pauses to indicate different "parts" of the statement, and speed up my speech a bit when running through what's in the parentheses.

So, your first example would be "root 5 *pause* times 2root5minusroot2 squared." I'll sometimes even say "pause" so they notice it.

I'm not sure, though, whether that would translate cross-culturally.

GoodOmens on

IOS Game Center ID: Isotope-X
• Registered User regular
edited October 2008
Any time you're reading parenthesis the best way I've found is to say the "quantity" <whatever> squared

so sqrt 5 times the quantity 2√5-√2 squared

vs

the quantity √5(2√5-√2) squared

musanman on