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Homework Help: How do Mathmeticians Pronounce This?

  1. Nov 29, 2008 #1
    How do Mathematicians pronounce the ellipsis? (...) for instance:

    1 + 2 + 3 + ... + an

    "One plus two plus three plus dot dot dot plus a sub n"?

    I'm using a digital tape recorder to better understand text, and I don't want to pronounce this incorrectly.

    Also: do mathematicians say "the arc tangent of one" or "the inverse tangent of one"?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2008 #2


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    "and so on"
    I would say arc-tan but that's from a software background
  4. Nov 29, 2008 #3
    Got it, thanks ^^
  5. Nov 29, 2008 #4


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    I usually say "sumfrom k equals one to 'n' of [whatever the kth term is in terms of k]" and get rid of the ellipsis entirely

    or sometimes even

    "sigma from k equals one to 'n' of [whatever the kth term is in terms of k]"

    And I would say "arctan of one" also, or sometimes "tangent to the minus one of one" but that's a bit unwieldy

    When I'm looking at a complicated expression and just want to get the notation right.
  6. Nov 29, 2008 #5
    It is actually very interesting to hear how other people put a mathematical expression into words: it kind of forces you to define what it is you are talking about beyond just symbols and numbers.

    On a side note, my professor had a wonderful time laughing when I said "you-ler" instead of "oil-er" for Euler's number.
  7. Nov 30, 2008 #6
    One of my old professors got a good laugh when people pronounced the 's' in l'Hospital's rule. It seems the more common spelling is l'Hôpital's. Another one of my professors told me the 's' wasn't always silent. Can anyone confirm that?
  8. Nov 30, 2008 #7
    My professor pronounces it "leh-pee-tal's rule" or "pee-tal's rule".
  9. Nov 30, 2008 #8


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    Check out the audio examples from the AsTeR project:
  10. Dec 1, 2008 #9


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    Nope, you're professor is wrong. Just think about it: it's a person's name, so it should sound the same regardless of how it's spelt. The s is silent and arises when replacing the circumflex.
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