The language of topology: a Turkish case study


  • Bill Barton University of Auckland
  • Frank Lichtenberk University of Auckland
  • Ivan L. Reilly University of Auckland



Language and topology, Open, Connected


Topology has its own specialised language. Where did this come from? What are the differences in the language of topology when it is expressed in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Czech or Turkish? Does topology itself change when expressed in different languages? What effect has language had on the development of topology? Does the language of the topologist make a difference to the mathematics? A research programme aimed at answering these questions has begun. This paper is the first in a series that provides a background to the research. Topological discourse in various languages is being examined for its particular features, and possible influences on the concepts developed through these languages. Data from Turkish topologists and topological terminology are examined. They show why there is reason to suspect that language influences mathematical concept development. The data are also used to explore methodological issues for the research project.


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Author Biographies

Bill Barton, University of Auckland

Department of Mathematics

Frank Lichtenberk, University of Auckland

Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics

Ivan L. Reilly, University of Auckland

Department of Mathematics


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How to Cite

B. Barton, F. Lichtenberk, and I. L. Reilly, “The language of topology: a Turkish case study”, Appl. Gen. Topol., vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 107–117, Oct. 2005.



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