Judging a word by the company it keeps: the use of concordancing software to explore aspects of the mathematics register.
Language and Education, 13(1) pp. 59–70.
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This paper explores the use of computer software such as databases and concordancing programs in the analysis of mathematical texts in the secondary classroom. It reports on research into aspects of the mathematics register at the individual word level, tracking the development of a single lexical item ‘diagonal’ through the various National Curriculum levels as presented within a particular British mathematics scheme (SMILE, Secondary Maths Individualised Learning Experience). The analysis is used to demonstrate how meanings are constructed at various conceptual levels and how the materials themselves may be responsible for causing confusion in a student’s understanding of the specifically mathematical meaning of terms. It examines the value of such analyses in assisting mathematics and English as an Additional Language teachers to develop their students’ understanding of the mathematical register and
points to the further potential of such analyses at broader levels of discourse.
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