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I've been asked to give lectures on electromagnetism in English, but I encounter many problems trying to express mathematical formulas since they are written and I do not know how to read them. Are there any references which elaborate the formulas and express what should we call any mathematical sign?

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closed as off topic by aedia λ, simchona, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Jasper Loy, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Oct 19 '11 at 15:12

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I'm not sure if I would call this off-topic, but I think you might be able to get better answers at math.stackexchange.com, although I'm not sure they would find it on topic. – yoozer8 Oct 19 '11 at 13:46
I think they might hate it. – Marcin Oct 19 '11 at 13:57
I've voted to reopen and asked a question on meta.math whether this kind of questions is on-topic there. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Oct 19 '11 at 17:46
Can the people who closed this give a justification? This is a question about pronunciation that one cannot find in dictionaries. – Phira Oct 19 '11 at 21:07
I agree with you Phira – Negin Oct 26 '11 at 6:49
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The following references are useful:

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Thank you very much Mehper , It was really useful – Negin Oct 19 '11 at 14:51
@Negin: You're welcome. Glad I could help. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Oct 19 '11 at 14:54
Also: mathematicians are used to international speakers, and will understand things said in different ways. It won't matter if you read "x/2" as "x over 2" or "x upon 2", they have probably heard them both before. Or if Z is called "zee" or "zed". Now if Y is called "eegrek" they may smile... – GEdgar Oct 19 '11 at 15:01

There's a certain amount of variation in how signs are denoted in speech, not least that given signs may have a different meaning in context (simple example: a superscripted number is usually a power, but it might not be).

You're best asking a colleague who is a mathematician who was educated at, or has a long association, with the institution where you will be lecturing, and knows the standard conventions there.

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If you're concerned about this, I am afraid you are likely to bore your audience to tears. Describing mathematical equations orally is rarely effective. You would be much better off to provide a hand-out with a numbered list of all equations you wish to discuss, and refer to them by number.

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Please don't do this! My guess is, James has never attended a math talk for and by mathematicians :) – Mariano Oct 19 '11 at 17:48
Actually... oh, heck, just check out the bio on my profile. – James McLeod Oct 19 '11 at 22:43

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