Arabic numerals? Oh, no!

Did you hear that they’re teaching Arabic numerals in public schools? I’m shocked, shocked. In America, no less! What is this world coming to?

A recent poll showed that 56% of Americans don’t want public schools to teach Arabic numerals. Is this because of Islamophobia? If not, what other explanation could you have? Do read the article in that link, including some of the comments; a lot of the comments are really good (for a change).

How many of those 56% are Trump supporters?

Properly speaking, BTW, the numerals we use are called Hindu-Arabic numerals, to give the originators from India their due. That’s always the way I refer to them. But colloquially we call them Arabic, primarily in contrast to Roman numerals, and that’s how everybody is (or should be) familiar with them. Interestingly, if you go to an Arabic-speaking country (modern Egypt, for example), you will see that the numerals don’t look like the ones that we call Arabic numerals. That’s because the glyphs are different, but the system of writing numerals is the same: base 10, including a zero, so 2019 will still be written 2019 (with the glyphs below) rather than MMXIX.

Categories: Life, Math, Teaching & Learning