Danish mathematic symbols - go figure(s)!

Have you ever done maths with your kids?   Well, I’m pretty good at maths – even though I say it myself ;)  So when DS12 (dear son, aged 12) started kindergarten class at school (at the age of 6, as you do in Denmark), I thought it was going to be easy peasy lemon squeezy.   Ha!  No!  Not only do the Danes have three extra letters in the alphabet.   (Which, by the way, are a constant source of amusement to us non-Danes…)   But they also use different mathematic symbols.

Plus and minus are straightforward.   Just the usual + and -

But how do you write 4 times 5?   I would write it 4 x 5

Wrong! In Danish it’s 4.5  Yep, a little dot.


Multiplying Danish style

How about dividing?   Like 20 divided by 5?   Well, I would write 20 ÷ 5

Wrong again! In Danish you write 20:5   Yep, a colon.


Dividing - Danish style

But, hang on a minute, I know that I’ve seen the divide sign ÷ on bits of paper around the school. Doesn’t it mean divide?   Nope.   The Danes use it to mean ‘minus. So ‘÷ madpakke‘ means that the kids don’t need to take a packed lunch to school that day.   If there’s a list on the door of the classroom with a party invitation and a list of the kids’ names, you either make a tick ✓to say you are going or write ÷ to say that you can’t.

Go figure(s)!

Diane :)

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