Linguistic differences and problem-solving routines in mathematics: A comparison of US and Korean students


  • Dong Joong Kim Korea University
  • Jeong-il Cho Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne


discourse analysis, English and Korean language differences, mathematics, routines


The purpose of this study is to investigate routines as guides for mathematical thinking. Four English-speaking and four Korean-speaking students were interviewed in English about the concepts of limit and infinity. Based on the communicational approach to cognition, which views mathematics as a discourse, we identified the primary characteristics of students’ routines for infinity and limit. Results show that language differences between English and Korean affect students’ problem-solving routines in mathematics. On the basis of these results, we conclude that there is a need to deal with linguistic sensitivity in mathematics learning.

Author Biographies

Dong Joong Kim, Korea University

Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics Education at Korea University

Jeong-il Cho, Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne

Associate Professor






General Refereed Papers