> The funny thing is that this has happened before.  In mathematics much
of the
> notation was basically to remove English words from the flow of a
proof or
> solution.  Phrases such as "therefore", "there exists", "there exists
a unique", "is
> a subset of", "such that", "is an element of", "thus the theorem is
proved", "by
> contradiction" etc, all have been given single character symbols in
mathematics.  Of
> course it took longer to develop than the IM shorthand.  Fortunately I
never tried
> to use any of those symbols in my writing assignments.

Although mathematics certainly has developed shortcuts (e.g.: '3 + 2 =
5' for 'Three combined with two is five'), I don't think the intention
was to remove English words.  Rather, the intention was to remove ALL
words, thus creating a 'language' that was portable throughout the known

As a graduate student in mathematics a decade ago, I wrote quite a few
proofs in English, and I'm quite certain that my professors would not
have allowed mathematical abbreviations in my writing outside of the
most basic (e.g.:  '42' for 'forty-two'; 'n -1' for 'one less than
"n"').  The reason for my confidence is because I attempted to use math
notation in my writing back then, and I routinely failed to convince my
professors that such was appropriate.  From what I can tell,
mathematical abbreviations are always to be used when working problems
but only used when writing about problems when the alternative would be
too inelegant.


Prof. Eric Kaljumagi
Mt. San Antonio College

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