How many; how much?

libre-vector-misc-tridimensional-numero-digital-creativo_270-160379I mentioned a while ago an Amazonian tribe who had no words for cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3 …).  Even though they had no words for individual numbers, they fared quite well with matching same-sized groups of objects.

A different study has found that children from two different indigenous communities in outback Australia, who also have no words or gestures for numbers, do as well in basic numeracy tests than English-speaking Aboriginal children living in Melbourne.  The children who don’t have words for numbers still hold quite strong concepts of quantity and spatial awareness, which could easily be built upon, say the researchers.

This backs up the idea that humans have a natural idea of numbers, regardless of culture, language, and training.  This has implications for people who have trouble with basic numeracy skills, in that the root of the problem may lie somewhere other than in failed education.

Full article here.