Linguistic influences on mathematical development: How important is the transparency of the counting system?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):523 – 538 (2008)
Wales uses languages with both regular (Welsh) and irregular (English) counting systems. Three groups of 6- and 8-year-old Welsh children with varying degrees of exposure to the Welsh language—those who spoke Welsh at both home and school; those who spoke Welsh only at home; and those who spoke only English—were given standardized tests of arithmetic and a test of understanding representations of two-digit numbers. Groups did not differ on the arithmetic tests, but both groups of Welsh speakers read and compared 2-digit numbers more accurately than monolingual English children. A similar study was carried out with Tamil/English bilingual children in England. The Tamil counting system is more transparent than English but less so than Welsh or Chinese. Tamil-speaking children performed better than monolingual English-speaking children on one of the standardized arithmetic tests but did not differ in their comparison of two-digit numbers. Reasons for the findings are discussed.
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Citations of this work BETA
Andrea Bender, Dirk Schlimm & Sieghard Beller (2015). The Cognitive Advantages of Counting Specifically: A Representational Analysis of Verbal Numeration Systems in Oceanic Languages. Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (4):552-569.
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Julia Bahnmueller, Korbinian Moeller, Anne Mann & Hans-Christoph Nuerk (2015). On the Limits of Language Influences on Numerical Cognition – No Inversion Effects in Three-Digit Number Magnitude Processing in Adults. Frontiers in Psychology 6.
Winifred Mark & Ann Dowker (2015). Linguistic Influence on Mathematical Development is Specific Rather Than Pervasive: Revisiting the Chinese Number Advantage in Chinese and English Children. Frontiers in Psychology 6.
Gabriella Daroczy, Magdalena Wolska, Walt Detmar Meurers & Hans-Christoph Nuerk (2015). Word Problems: A Review of Linguistic and Numerical Factors Contributing to Their Difficulty. [REVIEW] Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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