There are at least two types of international words for "mathematics": 1) those based on Greek mathēmatikḕ (tékhnē) "scientific (craft)" 2) those based on Chinese 數學 / 数学 "number study" (shùxué in Mandarin) What words for "mathematics" do you know of that aren't based on either of these, and (if they are compounds) what do their components mean? Two examples that come to mind are Icelandic stærðfræði (stærð "quantity" + fræði "studies") Dutch wiskunde (not sure exactly what the parts mean -- hopefully the Dutch speakers can explain) In Finnish, many non-international terms have been proposed for "mathematics", e.g. määrintö (based on määrä "amount") and suurelma (based on suuri "large" or suure "quantity"), but all of them seem to have lost out to matematiikka.
Wis- means true, sure; -kunde is related to kunnen (can). Maybe interesting to know: the term wiskunde (orig. wisconst) was coined by the 16th century Dutch scientist Stevin who prefered to "translate" Greek and Latin terms, or rather to coin "pure" Dutch words. Frank
What does the root of this word mean? Did kheshbon originally have a meaning different from "arithmetic"?
My question was about terms for the whole field, "mathematics" (French mathématiques, German mathematik, Icelandic stærðfræði, and so on). I'm sorry if that was unclear.
Literally kheshbon is (more or less) calculation. Root kh-sh-b means also think. Another Hebrew term is הנדסה handasa = geometry, where root h-n-d-s basically means engineering.
Hungarian: számtan szám - number ("numerus", not quantity) tan - doctrine, lore (the word matematika is also used, especially in a more complex or "scientific" sense)
Danish: regning - arithmetic (means the school subject, a calculation, or a bill or receipt) aritmetik - arithmetic (I think this is less common than regning) matematik - mathematics
Both are sub-fields of mathematics. As far as I know, mathematics - as the whole field - has no equivalent term in Hebrew. We just say מתמטיקה (matematika).
I'm curious about that distinction between quantity and what you call numerus. Can you explain it, please?
Maybe I was not clear enough, e.g.: 254,000,000 is "a big number", but we can say "a big number of people" as well, in the sense of "a big amount" of people. The word számtan is colloquially used also in the general sense of the term mathematics (e.g. as a subject at school), but the precise terminology should be as follows: számtan - aritmetic mennyiségtan - mathematics mértan - geometry szám - number mennyi - how much/many mennyiség - quantity (amount) mér - from mérni, to measure tan - doctrine, lore
How commonly are these terms used? For example, do children mention mennyiségtan as one of the subjects they learn in school?
I'm not able to give you an exact answer, because I don't live in Hungary. I have a feeling that today, as subjects (at least in case of higher education), the international (graeco-latin) terms are preferred, while in the past the proper Hungarian terms were used more commonly in these cases. By the way, this kind of terminology (i.e. compound words) are very common and normal in Hungarian, thus terms like mennyiségtan are perfectly "usable" (even if a school subject were called today "officially" matematika) ...
Czech: When I was a little schoolboy the mathematics as a school subject was called počty (plural), which means calculi. počet (sing.) = 1) number, like in počet proměnných (= the number of variables); 2) calculus, like in infinitesimální počet (= infinitesimal calculus);