tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post4084069128611123620..comments2024-09-05T11:33:12.026+01:00Comments on John Wells’s phonetic blog: E = mc2John Wellshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/13684304410735867148noreply@blogger.comBlogger22125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-75745933819060847232011-02-10T03:19:03.645+00:002011-02-10T03:19:03.645+00:00Many mathematicians pronounce (a + b)² as "a ...Many mathematicians pronounce (a + b)² as "a plus b quantity squared", where the word "quantity" means "do the arithmetic I've described so far before proceeding. So we would say, for instance "X plus Y quantity squared equals X squared plus 2 X Y plus Y squared" to convey the identity (X + Y)² = X² + 2XY + Y².Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-58759657568044420892011-02-08T22:34:25.384+00:002011-02-08T22:34:25.384+00:00Familiarity is an important factor here. If the fu...Familiarity is an important factor here. If the function were ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d, rather than a quadratric with ax^2 etc, then the exponents would have to be stressed because it is not such a common function. <br />in forms such as (a+b)^n, I would use 'all to the n' by default, but I'm wondering when i mightn't put it in. Having something multiplied before the bracket seems to matter: <br />so, (perhaps) <br />(a+b)^n is 'a plus b all to the n', but<br />p(a+b)^n is 'p times a plus b (pause) to the n'a2dezhttp://a2dez.comnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-18754670931018311482011-02-08T21:44:10.305+00:002011-02-08T21:44:10.305+00:00@Anonymous, @c.c.:
I think that the normal pronun...@Anonymous, @c.c.:<br /><br />I think that the normal pronunciation in the UK also has stress on "squared". The BBC guide is being prescriptive here, not descriptive: it explicitly admits that "the formula is often pronounced with stress on the m and the squared rather than the c".vphttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16647609487352038948noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-55090772196202516682011-02-08T21:04:18.528+00:002011-02-08T21:04:18.528+00:00"But a further way of avoiding the possible a..."But a further way of avoiding the possible ambiguity in the latter is to say A X all squared. And in that wording you place the main accent on all — I think."<br /><br />I may well be wrong, but I don't recall ever hearing this variant through ten-odd years at uni. So I wouldn't naturally use it myself when teaching either.<br /><br />I agree with Luke that the stress seems to follow from making a short pause before "squared" so as to 'pronounce' the parenthesis. But it's ambiguous, yes, and I usually get questions for clarification, yes. I tend to draw the parentheses in the air much like airquotes, when I'm not writing on the board.Jens Knudsen (Sili)https://www.blogger.com/profile/14078875730565068352noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-75682863806785380322011-02-08T20:08:24.040+00:002011-02-08T20:08:24.040+00:00@ c.c.: I say those the same way you do. That...@ c.c.: I say those the same way you do. That's how I've always heard them pronounced in the Midwest. Maybe that's a common pronunciation in the U.K. too and that's why the BBC Guide to Pronunciation has to tell people not to pronounce it that way.Adamnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-38598495925704711232011-02-08T20:00:10.169+00:002011-02-08T20:00:10.169+00:00I agree with c.c. and Pete and Steve. I don't ...I agree with c.c. and Pete and Steve. I don't use, and have never heard, a deaccented 'squared' in these examples.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-27655116962990698282011-02-08T17:57:23.167+00:002011-02-08T17:57:23.167+00:00I don't agree with much of the above descripti...I don't agree with much of the above description. For instance, I would say "'E equals 'M C 'squared." For quadratic equations, I say "'A X 'squared ..." I've never found it odd among my peers. Is this an American thing?c.c.https://www.blogger.com/profile/17707704571448468226noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-63178478403336381832011-02-08T16:36:27.208+00:002011-02-08T16:36:27.208+00:00"None of this applies to cubed or higher powe..."None of this applies to cubed or higher powers."<br /><br />Well, no. I disagree. You just haven't gone through the parallel set of examples. Like (a + b)3, for example (forgive me for not attempting the markup here). Accentuation would be exactly the same as for (a + b)2.Paul Claphamhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02446087684049798691noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-25033266083209284122011-02-08T16:28:59.616+00:002011-02-08T16:28:59.616+00:00csquared m would work. There's no particular r...csquared m would work. There's no particular reason to have the m first. But, as has been pointed out, the traditional order is more of a saying than a formula. It's been part of popular culture for so long that it would only seem pedantic to use another formThomashttps://www.blogger.com/profile/09698347977063834446noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-90051954428522885162011-02-08T14:20:29.852+00:002011-02-08T14:20:29.852+00:00I feel the authors of the Oxford BBC Guide to Pron...I feel the authors of the Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation have got themselves all fussed over a non-problem, because, as Richard Sabey explained above, the priority rules, both in writing and in speech, avoid the supposed ambiguity. I don't think anyone who cared about what the equation means would ever take it to mean that both the <i>m</i> and the <i>c</i> were squared, even when meeting it for the first time. Moreover, while fussing over a non-problem the authors have introduced a worse one, writing mc2 (without italics, and with no superscript. On the Internet that is excusable, but you example appears to be printed, and in print there is no excuse, especially from people who can print phonetic characters.Athel Cornish-Bowdenhttp://bip.cnrs-mrs.fr/bip10/homepage.htmnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-74915769524076822372011-02-08T13:31:03.303+00:002011-02-08T13:31:03.303+00:00Steve
Thanks for that. I copied a superscript fro...Steve<br /><br />Thanks for that. I copied a superscript from the OP but it progressively lost effect after I pasted.David Crosbiehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/01858358459416955921noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-21503525313557391342011-02-08T13:26:24.536+00:002011-02-08T13:26:24.536+00:00You can use &sup2; if you want a superscript 2...You can use &sup2; if you want a superscript 2.Steve Doerrhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/11410868047916610730noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-20631297991354779562011-02-08T12:26:40.084+00:002011-02-08T12:26:40.084+00:00@Steve Doerr:
Indeed the pun reply "No, pie a...@Steve Doerr:<br />Indeed the pun reply "No, pie are not square, they are round; cornbread are square" doesn't work if the ^2 is unstressed. Neither does TSTN^2 for "there's something that's not square".<br /><br />(Why is the <sup> tag not allowed?)Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-72305728719559593712011-02-08T10:54:31.773+00:002011-02-08T10:54:31.773+00:00Should we not make a distinction here between spee...Should we not make a distinction here between speech as a sole mode of communication and speech as an adjunct to visual symbolisation?<br /><br />If I needed to dictate (a + b)2 over the phone, I would say something like <i>a plus b in brackets all squared</i>.<br /><br />When we heard a teacher say these things in a classroom, we could often see the precise formulation on the board or in our books. If not, the chances were that we had just been looking and hearing about something very similar.<br /><br />The point about E = mc2 is that we all know what the equation <b>is</b>, but few of us know what it <b>means</b>. <br /><br />As it happens, I do 'understand' in the sense that I know what each symbol represents and which of them are multiplied and which squared. This is necessary but insufficient, since I barely <b>understand</b> what a physicist means by <i>mass</i> and <i>energy</i> and don't <b>understand</b> at all how they are quantified in this equation.<br /><br />The wording of the equation is a cultural allusion that I <b>do</b> understand. I might be a little thrown if I heard it with different stress.David Crosbiehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/01858358459416955921noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-32277675341962446902011-02-08T10:35:32.537+00:002011-02-08T10:35:32.537+00:00For ax² + bx + c = 0, I would say ˈA X SQUARED | p...For <b>a<i>x</i>² + b<i>x</i> + c = 0</b>, I would say <b>ˈA X SQUARED | plus ˈ B X plus ˈC | equals NOUGHT</b>. (I've used caps instead of underlining because I can't work out how to underline.)<br /><br />That is, the same as what John's got above, but with the <i>squared</i> heavily accented. This is because you're contrasting <i>x</i>² with <i>x</i> - that is, <b>X squared</b> with <b>X</b>.<br /><br />I'd suggest the reason <b><i>E</i> = <i>m</i>c²</b> is accented the way it is is because it's most commonly heard spoken by non-specialists: laymen who may not understand the formula. The other examples are less well known and likely to be heard by GCSE maths teachers, schoolchildren and other people who (are supposed to) understand its meaning.Petehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/13722482936100504510noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-46197208266638677962011-02-08T10:32:08.939+00:002011-02-08T10:32:08.939+00:00I think I've always accented ‘squared’ in πr²....I think I've always accented ‘squared’ in <em>πr</em>². Or maybe all three elements are equally accented.Steve Doerrhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/11410868047916610730noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-60283229680208990102011-02-08T09:53:45.930+00:002011-02-08T09:53:45.930+00:00Both intonation and timing are important in the in...Both intonation and timing are important in the interpretation of such utterings, aren't they? 'A plus 'B squared is unambiguous to me, as is A plus B (mini-pause) 'squared. A plus B 'squared, not so much.lukehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/10967852565627690025noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-26295697436459960982011-02-08T09:49:53.717+00:002011-02-08T09:49:53.717+00:00Thanks, makes sense.Thanks, makes sense.Phillip Mindenhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16801818752833289089noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-5337774126105714582011-02-08T09:40:54.491+00:002011-02-08T09:40:54.491+00:00Richard Sabey: you're right, and that is why (...Richard Sabey: you're right, and that is why (a+b)² vs a+b² is a better example.John Wellshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/13684304410735867148noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-83730778234529689292011-02-08T09:36:49.757+00:002011-02-08T09:36:49.757+00:00Give me time to get all the markup exactly right!
...Give me time to get all the markup exactly right!<br /><br />Yes, that X tends to undergo deaccentuation because of the operation of the 'rule of three' (English Intonation, p. 229).John Wellshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/13684304410735867148noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-43864785544610057152011-02-08T09:35:45.867+00:002011-02-08T09:35:45.867+00:00Algebraic expressions such as (ax)² are unusual IM...Algebraic expressions such as (ax)² are unusual IME because such an algebraic quantity would usually be rendered a²x². If someone needed to say (ax)² (let's say in the context of an algebra which is not known to be commutative, so it is not known that (ax)² and a²x² have the same value), I think it'd be prudent to say "a x all squared", because "a x squared" is liable to be understood as "ax²" even if the speaker tries to use stress and timing to suggest the contrary.Richard Sabeyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/06707961497644079468noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-377103124456226005.post-41902421946919326312011-02-08T09:22:48.772+00:002011-02-08T09:22:48.772+00:00ˈA ˈX squared | plus ˈ B x plus ˈC | equals ˈnough...<i>ˈA ˈX squared | plus ˈ B x plus ˈC | equals ˈnought</i><br /><br />Is the x in bx intentionally unaccented?Phillip Mindenhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/16801818752833289089noreply@blogger.com