Re: Too narrowly defined: DIVISION SIGN & COLON

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 12:37:34 -0700

On 7/10/2012 4:50 AM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> 2012/7/10 Leif Halvard Silli <>:
>> Asmus Freytag, Mon, 09 Jul 2012 19:32:47 -0700:
>>> The European use (this is not limited to Scandinavia)
>> Thanks. It seems to me that that this tradition is not without a link
>> to the (also) European tradition of *not* using the DIVISION SIGN (÷)
>> for division.
> Why European ? I never heard before this discussion that the DIVISION
> SIGN (÷) would be used to mean a substraction. And I leave in Europe.
> This sign was even the first one I learned for the division at school
> when I was a child, long before the slash (/), and later the colon (:)
> essentially for noting scale ratios on maps.
There's European and European. If something is used in several European
countries (perhaps not
even exclusively) it can be European in contrast to usage elsewhere in
the world, without having
to be a usage that either uniform or universal across Europe.

But thanks for answering my earlier question.

I recall, with certainty, having seen the ":" in the context of
elementary instruction in arithmetic,
as in "4 : 2 = ?", but am no longer positive about seeing ÷ in the same
context. I'm glad the name
for this charatcer is not a case of yet another codified myth like the

The use of this symbol on maps, to denote a scale, or ratio, is really
something for which
U+2236 RATIO was encoded, with COLON just a popular fallback. Or do the
make a systematic disctinction between RATIO and COLON (when used as
mathematical operators).

Received on Tue Jul 10 2012 - 14:38:55 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Tue Jul 10 2012 - 14:39:01 CDT