Mathematical vocabulary: A look back to make meaning of the present and the future
Salinas, Shere L.
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This dissertation researched the body of scholarly work that addresses mathematical vocabulary in the United States in order to identify trends, major topics, and gaps in the research that have not been previously explored, which define the field. The body of work extends from the initial book by Davies and Peck (1855), Mathematical Dictionary and Cyclopedia of Mathematical Science, to the present day. The research methodology included historical analysis combined with a case study. The historical analysis examined the 126 scholarly works found as a result of an exhaustive search of all works addressing mathematical vocabulary in the United States. The case study involved four participants who were active mathematics education professors at the time of the study. The case study determined the views of current mathematics education vocabulary experts, how they interpreted and made meaning from the history of the field, and how they situated their works into the field of mathematical vocabulary. This study examined the historical analysis and the case study separately, and then in combination. Several major themes emerged from this research, including mathematical vocabulary implications that address instructional strategies, issues with English language learners, and discourse. These dominant themes arose from both the historical analysis and case study. The researcher defined the field of mathematical vocabulary, including the major categories and themes of scholarly works, and has thus created a foundation for future scholarly endeavors. The results of this study provide a clear map of the gaps in the research and offer future researchers a treasure of research opportunities. This study also serves as a rich source of information for practitioners seeking insight into the teaching of mathematical vocabulary. An abundance of works exist that pertain to instructional strategies for addressing the needs of English language learners.