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L'Hospital's Rule

  1. Jun 4, 2006 #1
    "L'Hospital's Rule"

    Back when I took calculus for the first time and we learned about L'Hopital's rule, roughly half the class lazily read it as "L'Hospital's Rule", and some even weeks after the idea was introduced, would refer to it as "the hospital rule". I always thought this was pretty funny, but people on this very board use "L'Hospital's Rule" all the time when referring to it!!! Is this some sort of ongoing PF joke, that there has been such a mass misinterpretation of the word that it has been assimilated into the language? I must know, because it is very funny seeing it
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2006 #2
    I think it is considered OK usage, and not some inside joke. When I tutored math last semester people would always come up with some weird way of saying it, commonly, as you said, they would use Hosiptal. I would always try to say it with a strong French accent, but people would think I was joking, which I somewhat tried to do. Poisson is another fun one, to say that is.
     
  4. Jun 4, 2006 #3
    the use of the circumflex above the o in the 'correct' spelling usually indicates an s that has been dropped from the word. in this case, "hôpital" would be from "hospital".

    this would imply that "l'hospital's rule" is equally valid..
     
  5. Jun 4, 2006 #4
    That nuance I was not aware about the french language. I mistakedly equated "L'Hospital's Rule" with the kids in my class saying "The Hospital Rule", whose misinterpretation where I come from is so common that I just assume it's like confusing your and you're, which is also very common in my circle. Thank you for this information.
     
  6. Jun 4, 2006 #5
    Most certainly not! Please feel free to refer to wikipedia's seven-page long article on the circumflex in French.

     
  7. Jun 4, 2006 #6

    Gokul43201

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    "L'Hospital" is most certainly accpeptable, and is probably the more common usage in mathematical communication. I've confirmed this among three different math texts, and Mathworld.

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LHospitalsRule.html
     
  8. Jun 4, 2006 #7
    Why would anyone write a letter that isn't pronounced?
     
  9. Jun 4, 2006 #8

    Moonbear

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    Indeed, why would they? :biggrin:
     
  10. Jun 4, 2006 #9
    Behold the perils of not drinking coffee...
     
  11. Jun 4, 2006 #10

    selfAdjoint

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    In the 17th century when l'Hospital lived, the s was still used but not pronounced (it had been of course, once upon a time, but the French pronunciation changed just as English has). So he spelled it l'Hospital (pronounced LOW pee tall). But the French academy decreed the circonflex and French math and hisotry books used it and texts of other nations copied them.

    l'Hospital was a student of Liebniz, and wrote the first textbook on calculus.
     
  12. Jun 4, 2006 #11

    rcgldr

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    How soon is l'Hospital rule taught in current first year calculus classes these days? It was one of the significant differences between two textbooks available back when I was in high school, (1969->1970). Crowell and Slesnick (not a popular text) introduced the rule early on to assist with explanation of the derivative. Thomas's text only includes it in an appendix.
     
  13. Jun 4, 2006 #12

    Math Is Hard

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    I don't think we did any "L'Hopitaling" (my teacher used it as a verb - I thought that was cute) until the second half of my single var. calc class.
    I just think of it as Bernoulli's Thingy and don't trouble myself with French name spelling. :smile:
     
  14. Jun 4, 2006 #13

    shmoe

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    Any calculus class with say, 40 or more students, will have someone calling it "the hospital rule" either as a joke or by accident. The joke/error stops being amusing sometime before the 5121st time you hear it.

    Go Bernoulli! :smile:
     
  15. Jun 4, 2006 #14

    Gokul43201

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    Which one?
     
  16. Jun 5, 2006 #15
    Isn't that kinda like asking which Bach? Its understood.
     
  17. Jun 5, 2006 #16
    please feel free to be less condescending in future, especially when you are mistaken
     
  18. Jun 5, 2006 #17
    As far as I now, in Medieval times copyists would put a small lowercase s above the o. This has became the circumflex.
    I was told that the reason he was called this was because he was left by his parents on the doorstep of a "hospital". The people taking him in thus assigned him this name, as they had no idea what his real name was.
     
  19. Jun 5, 2006 #18
    You christen someone "The Hospital" ?!:surprised
    Oh those French !
     
  20. Jun 5, 2006 #19
    "de l'Hôpital", meaning of or from the hospital. :smile:
     
  21. Jun 5, 2006 #20

    arildno

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    Hmm..I think L'Hopital was a student of J. Bernoulli.
     
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