Have you ever done maths with your kids? Well, I’m pretty good at maths –
even though I say it myself
So when DS12 (dear son, aged 12) started kindergarten class at school (at the
age of 6, as you do in Denmark), I thought it was going to be easy peasy lemon
squeezy. Ha! No! Not only do the Danes have three extra letters in the
alphabet. (Which, by the way, are a constant source of amusement to us non-Danes…) But they also
use different mathematic symbols.

Plus and minus are straightforward. Just the usual +
and –

But how do you write 4 times 5? I would write it 4 x 5

Wrong! In Danish it’s 4.5 Yep, a little dot.

Multiplying Danish style

How about dividing? Like 20 divided by 5? Well, I would write 20 ÷ 5

Wrong again! In Danish you write 20:5 Yep, a colon.

Dividing – Danish style

But, hang on a minute, Iknow
that I’ve seen the divide sign ÷ on bits of paper around the
school. Doesn’t it mean divide? Nope. The Danes use it to mean ‘minus. So ‘÷ madpakke‘ means that the kids don’t need to take a packed lunch to
school that day. If there’s a list on the door of the classroom with a party
invitation and a list of the kids’ names, you either make a tick ✓to say you are
going or write ÷ to say that you can’t.