[seqfan] Re: A236019

jean-paul allouche allouche at math.jussieu.fr
Sun Jan 19 12:08:42 CET 2014

HI. I suspect that "at least equal" was a mere translation from French 
("au moins \'egal").
This is/was used (to my knowledge) in order to avoid the --sometimes-- 
"plus grand que" or "sup\'erieur \`a" which sometimes means ">" and 
"sometimes "\geq".
This is but one of the reasons while Fenchies say in English "strictly 
larger than" instead
of just "larger than" to mean ">".

[the polyglotish-linguistic-philosophical debate is continuing on a... 
strictly equal track  :-)))) ]

Le 19/01/14 11:35, Vladimir Shevelev a écrit :
> Recently, one mathematician used unknown for me term "at least equal".
> I thought that he simply forgot to put comma and have read it as "at least,
> equal" thinking that this means that "equality  is guaranteed". Later, he wrote me
> that "at least equal" means "more than or equal "(?!). And if to look at this from the riight to the left? Maybe, it is suitable only in case when English is a native language. Therefore, in my opinion, we very need the standards. Am I right?
> Regards,
> Vladimir
> ________________________________________
> From: SeqFan [seqfan-bounces at list.seqfan.eu] on behalf of M. F. Hasler [oeis at hasler.fr]
> Sent: 19 January 2014 08:12
> To: Sequence Fanatics Discussion list
> Subject: [seqfan] Re: A236019
> On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 6:13 PM, <franktaw at netscape.net> wrote:
>> I'm not sure how widely this applies, but one sometimes sees the "greatest
>> prime factor" function as gpf and "least prime factor" as lpf; other times
>> one sees "largest prime factor" as lpf, and "smallest prime factor" as
>> "spf" The existence of both usages means that lpf by itself is ambiguous;
>> thus some people use gpf and spf.
> Well, no-one would dare to replace LCM by SCM ...
> (OK, I agree, there is no such thing as a largest common multiple...)
> As to the original question, I think Neil brought it to the point.
> But the matter may be interesting from a linguistic-philosophical p.o.v.:
> why is the relation < called "less than"
> and not "smaller than" (as in German: "kleiner", not  "weniger")
> or "inferior than" (as in French: "inférieur à", not "moins que" ni "plus
> petit que").
> While German and French are rather logical about "<" vs ">",
> English is not, since "less than" should go with "more than", not "greater
> than" which would correspond to "smaller than".
> Furthermore, "greater" suggests a judgement, similar to "superior" ;
> from a scientific p.o.v., "more" or "larger" should be preferable.
> Also, more/less vs. larger/smaller have obviously the different origins of
> counting (arithmetics/algebra?) vs. measuring (geometry).
> Apart from the argument of avoiding repetitions in the wording, this would
> probably be for me among the (maybe unconscious) considerations for
> preferring one or the other, depending on the particular case.
> (Sorry for having failed to resist against the temptation of elaborating on
> these idle considerations...)
> Maximilian
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