Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. Shelley Taylor


This study explores language development in a grade 9 mathematics classroom to investigate: (a) whether mathematics has a distinct language register which is suitable for an applied linguistics interpretation, (b) how students’ appropriation of language impacts on their learning, and (c) the pedagogical implications of explicit instruction in a mathematical register. The findings suggest that a distinct Mathematics Language Register (MLR) exists, as do differences between how educators and students appropriate this register. Furthermore, ignoring these differences constrains students’ learning. Mathematics education, taken as a linguistics paradigm, requires a re-conceptualization of educator roles as students require explicit instruction in MLR. This thesis replicates aspects of earlier work by Tiede (1996) on the language of science.



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