for the learning of mathematics

Paul Ernest - Vol. 28 Num. 2 (2008)
 Towards a semiotic of mathematical text (part 2)


In this paper, the second of three in a series, I define what I mean by semiotic systems, using examples both from the teaching and learning of mathematics and from research mathematics. After locating semiotic systems within their ever-present social contexts of use, I go on to explore more broadly the semiotics of mathematical text. Using the social semiotics of Michael Halliday, I delineate three metafunctions that can usefully be applied to mathematical text. These are the ideational, interpersonal and textual function. I explore the first of these, the ideational textual function, in this paper. The remaining two functions are discussed in the third and final paper in the series.


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