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MathLexicon: More multiplicative words


You can create:

  • New English words
  • Silly pictures based on your words - visual representations of math
  • Your own wildcard definitions for the English language extender MathLexicon

First, head to MathLexicon software page, enter a word you like (your name may be a good idea) and see what math words the program makes out of it! Then you can really start playing. Search for collections of math word parts, such as decimal prefixes or Greek prefixes traditionally used for polygon names. Add your own words and art to MathLexicon gallery. Draw self-portraits with math parts attached, like Kelley did in the picture above.

Polygon prefixes have to do with counting. You can make and illustrate your own counting book using them. "Tricat, quadridog, pentafish" if you pick pets as your theme, for example. Decimal prefixes or metric prefixes have to do with powers. Here is a nice video using them:

I found this online etymology dictionary to be quite helpful in searching for word part meanings and history.

Because this activity connects love for words, art and mathematics. Also, you can be silly, you can do it on many levels, in a group or by yourself, for one or two word parts or for whole collections.

As you go

  • How can your draw math words to really show their meanings? For example, "milli-" means one-thousandth. How can you show that? This is where proportional and other multiplicative thinking kicks in.
  • Find real words with math prefixes and suffixes, like "tricycle" or "millimeter" - though made-up words, like "tridog" or "millimaria" can be a lot of fun, too.

Higher and deeper

  • Etymology is a fascinating branch of history and linguistics dealing with word origins.
  • Combinatorics (in this case, making words out of parts) is a formal, scientific or mathematical way of organizing the world. Interestingly, both French and Russian revolutions heavily used combinatorics. In case of French, it was the metric system most of the world uses now. In case of Russians, it was a proliferation of made-up words, now mostly forgotten. Newspeak from Orwell's "1984" is built this way.
  • Many computer and internet entities are named by smushing words together, for example, Photoshop, Youtube, or blog (for "web log").
Created: December 6, 2008, 8:25 am, by MariaD
Last edit: December 6, 2008, 8:25 am, by MariaD ( Edit, History )
Co-author: MariaD