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

Dong Joong Kim, Jeong-il Cho


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.


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

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