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math / maths
01-09-2019, 12:48 PM
Post: #1
math / maths
Ok, I'm feeling old here, but maybe you guys know the answer

When I was young we went off to college, but now everyone says they go to university for example, but I've noticed everyone also says they study maths instead of math.

When and why did math change to maths, what does the s signify?
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01-09-2019, 12:58 PM
Post: #2
RE: math / maths
"Maths" is British for "MATHematicS". "Math" is American for "MATHematics".

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01-09-2019, 09:25 PM
Post: #3
RE: math / maths
the translation may fail

I think we should say math (mathematic) in the singular, since it is said physical and not physicals as well as chemicals, and not chemicals

Creo que deberíamos decir matemática (matemática) en singular, ya que se dice física y no físicas, así como química, y no químicas

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01-09-2019, 09:51 PM
Post: #4
RE: math / maths
The Wiktionary entry for "university" has in the "usage notes":
  • In western Europe, and later the United States, universities were typically founded by executive act (e.g. royal charter) and were generally relatively large (compared to colleges), offering postgraduate degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. In other countries, this distinction is not made and any degree-granting institution is called a university.
  • In the United States, students will sometimes say that they go to "the university" or to "a university", but they are far more likely to say they are going "to college", even if the institution they attend is a university. In the UK, students go "to university", without the article. In Canada, students go "to university" (also without the article) if they are attending a school that grants bachelor's or postgraduate degrees.

In the U.S., we use the word "math" like "water," which is not normally plural.

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01-09-2019, 10:44 PM
Post: #5
RE: math / maths
Perhaps it’s easier to say “math” than “maths” — particularly coupled with following words beginning with consonants. Try saying “math strategy” versus “maths strategy” — there are no doubt other examples.
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01-09-2019, 10:51 PM
Post: #6
RE: math / maths
(01-09-2019 12:48 PM)EugeneNine Wrote:  … When I was young we went off to college, but now everyone says they go to university for example …

In the main, colleges offer undergraduate degrees, such as associate & bachelor, while universities offer undergraduate (aforementioned), graduate degrees, such as masters, as well as post-graduate degrees, such as doctorate. Additionally, university also offers a wider diversity of specialty within a degree program.
For example, I persued an associate in liberal arts at community college, bachelor(s) {social science & physical science} of science in the college of arts & science, a bachelor {civil engineering} of science in the college of engineering, a masters {business administration} in the school of business, etc. (yes I completed all).
There also exists specialty/training programs within these institutions, such as NIMS for emergency management, FM/Chief for fire academy, CLS for Red Cross, etc. The distinctions can sometimes blur at various institutions but in the main, the aforementioned holds.

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01-10-2019, 12:38 AM
Post: #7
RE: math / maths
To add to the complication… in the UK, in the 1980s when I went, there was a distinction between Universities, of which there were only about 90–100 in the whole country, and Polytechnic Colleges and other colleges of higher/further education.

In general, these traditional universities had more stringent entry requirements than "polys", despite many important exceptions (e.g. Hatfield Poly for Engineering), and a certain snobbery, and indeed anti-snobbery developed (or continued) between those who went to university and those who went to poly. Many people of my age, in an attempt to mask things (in either direction) would instead say they went to college.

This has more or less disappeared nowadays, with most of those polys now being universities in their own right.

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01-10-2019, 12:43 PM
Post: #8
RE: math / maths
I should have known it was those darn brits again Tongue
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01-10-2019, 01:59 PM
Post: #9
RE: math / maths
The History of Universities (OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS) is a periodical devoted to the study of every aspect of university history development, structure, teaching, and research from the Middle Ages to the modern period, as well as to the history of scholarship more generally. The bi-annual volumes contain a mix of learned articles, unpublished documents, book reviews, research notes, and bibliographical information, which makes this publication an indispensable tool not only for higher education researchers, but historians of all stripe. The contents of the periodical range widely geographically, chronically, and in subject-matter while its contributors are drawn from all parts of the world, giving the volumes a decidedly international flavor.

Chapter 13, pp 159-205, History of Universities (International Handbook of Higher Education) in the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series, suggests this insight to the uniqueness of university;

All advanced civilizations have needed higher education to train their ruling, priestly, military, and other service elites, but only in medieval Europe did an institution recognizable as a university arise: a school of higher learning combining teaching and scholarship and characterized by its corporate autonomy and academic freedom. The Confucian schools for the mandarin bureaucracy of imperial China, the Hindu gurukulas and Buddhist vihares for the priests and monks of medieval India, the madrasas for the mullahs and Quranic judges of Islam, the Aztec and Inca temple schools for the priestly astronomers of pre-Columbian America, the Tokugawa han schools for Japanese samurai—all taught the high culture, received doctrine, literary and/or mathematical skills of their political or religious masters, with little room for questioning or analysis.


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ps: lived very close to OXFORD during my four years in the UK, sometimes venturing to CAMBRIDGE & BRUNEL UNI (LONDON).
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