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Arabic math

From: cj <cj@mb-soft.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 20:20:49 -0000
Message-ID: <000001c87921$c41ee5a0$82849e04@oemcomputer>
To: <www-math@w3.org>

Your presentation on Arabic math notation is excellent.

However, I have one issue that I think is important, and I do not see that
you have addressed it there.

It has to do with ltr and rtl presentation of Arabic numbers.  The most
obvious example I have thought of is this sentence:

The circumference of a circle is 3.1415926535 times the diameter.

If an Arabic writer translates that sentence into Arabic, the wording begins
flowing from right to left.  But if it is required that the value of pi is
presented left-to-right, then the writer would have to skip ahead AN
UNSPECIFIC AMOUNT OF SPACE in order to then write the value in the space.
That seems immensely illogical and inconvenient to me.  I would think that
all Arabic writers would necessarily write that sentence, words and numbers,
from right-to-left.  In other words, after that writer writes the Arabic
words for "circle is", he would next write the 3 immediately to the left of
it, then the punctuation (whether decimal or comma) then the 1, etc.

It is the only logical way where an Arabic writer would not have problems in
providing appropriate space for the number value.  When he is done writing
down the numeric value, with the final 5, at the left-hand end of where he
then was, he would simply and logically continue on with the following
words, "times the", continuing leftward.

I realize that does not always seem to be done.  But it seems the "logical"
way that schoolchildren are taught the circle circumference relationship,
doesn't it?

Carl Johnson
(Nuclear Physicist)
Received on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 19:52:02 UTC

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