Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A milestone and a profound thought

First the milestone: the whole family went to church with me today and the kids sat through the whole service for the first time!! This is a big milestone- especially for Wolfie. woo hoo! I'm so happy!

Now the profound thought: You know how English words go left to right? But other languages are right to left. Like: Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Braille. So is one way more "right" than the other? My profound thought is that they are more right because in math you can only add and multiply right to left. Unless there is another technique that I don't know about that goes left to right. There is one benefit to our way of doing it though- all of us "righties" don't get ink smudged on our hand as we write. So I'm content with our way of doing it. Even if they're more right.


  • At 12:26 AM, Blogger Benjamin Meyer said…

    Google for "Order of operations". The only reason some operations come before others in typical arithmetic expressions is because we agree that they go that way. We could agree that they go a different way and there is not a special reason.

    You can just as easily format your math expressions in another way such as the following which I sometimes use:

    (x 7 (+ 4 5 7) 9)

    Rather then

    7 x (4 + 5 + 7) x 9

  • At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Japanese and Chinese are only written in right-to-left when written in Columns - Ie, vertically. When written horizontally, as "we" normally do, then it's left-to-right.
    Point being: They are right-to-left as we are to top-to-bottom.

    You missed what's perhaps the most popular (and beautiful) right to left language - Arabic.


  • At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Bruce said…

    Writing and math forms, such as left to right, or punctuation and bracket use, are completely by agreement, i.e., by convention.
    They can be tossed over without worry. Except that the point is usually communication, and if you change things without teaching everyone the new way, it messes up the point of the doing of it.
    Some systems are a lot more functional, even if purely conventional. Like the use of zero, or the replacement of roman numerals by arabic numerals, or base ten for some things and base two which is binary for other things.

    If it turns out that the whole universe is designed to go from left to right by its very nature, then maybe we could say that left to right reading is "more correct." Otherwise, it's how we do it around here.

    I asked this question of "why left to right" in kindergarten in Euclid Ohio. I remember that incident.

  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Deena said…

    Ben, I wasn't talking about order of operations. I was talking about how you would add or multiply big numbers. Like:



    See? right to left.


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