"x into y" for multiplication (Indian English)

Thomas Veil

Senior Member
English - USA
I heard some Indians using the preposition "into" to denote multiplication (pronouncing 5n as "five into en"), and I was wondering if anyone knows whether that's standard in Indian English.
 
  • temple09

    Senior Member
    English - British
    First of all - I have to say I know nothing about "Indian English", but are you sure that it was multiplication (or at least, sure that the speaker was sure?).
    For me, X into Y is more likely to denote division.
     

    abenr

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I heard some Indians using the preposition "into" to denote multiplication (pronouncing 5n as "five into en"), and I was wondering if anyone knows whether that's standard in Indian English.
    < --- > Five into N signals division.


    < Off-topic comment removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I couldn't find a reference to Indian English in the OED entry for "into", but I did find this:
    [8.] a. Used to indicate multiplication, as to multiply x into y (by considering the multiplicand replicated once for each unit of the multiplier). Obs.
    [...]
    1728
    CHAMBERS Cycl. s.v. Plain Number, 20 is a plain number, produced by Multiplication of 5 into 4. 1839 DE QUINCEY Wordsworth in Tait's Mag. Jan. 10/1 An elderly man, who confessed to having passed the grand climacterical year (9 multiplied into 7) of 63.
    [...].
    So, yes, it's entirely possibly that "into" is perfectly correct in Indian English with the meaning "multiply by". We've found examples in previous threads of Indian English retaining older forms which present-day BrE/AmE have lost.
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    There is also an entry in a Wikipedia page.

    7. (UK, archaic)(India)(mathematics) The operation of multiplication.[1]
    Five into three is fifteen.

    It is always very instructive to find that what is obvious to one English speaker is not to another. Beware of false friends/faux amis/Indian English/ etc......

    GF..

    It is bad enough trying to learn French with their faux amis, let alone understanding the "Universal English Language"....... :mad:
     
    Last edited:

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    George, your link is the same as that given by dn88...;)
    Loob, I found the Wiki page independantly, I think? Or did I? Sometimes I get :confused: by all the info that is available..... The odd duplicate reference will always happen.....

    My only excuse is I try to find some evidence before I look too closely at the references. Independant research does sometimes mean that one forgets to collaborate everything...... :warn:

    GF..

    Thanks for pointing it out to me....
     

    cantordust

    New Member
    India - Malayalam,English
    Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables.
    The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors :/).

    I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused for my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India, thanks for the link George :)
     

    cantordust

    New Member
    India - Malayalam,English
    Actually, the multiplicand replicated for each unit of the multiplier makes sense. Like if you put 2 coins each into 5 slots then you have 10 coins. bla. The cross being called into is something that gets stuck with us without being given any thought.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Actually, the multiplicand replicated for each unit of the multiplier makes sense. Like if you put 2 coins each into 5 slots then you have 10 coins.
    I can see the sense if the word "each" is added, however if you put 2 coins into 5 slots (no "each"), then you have 2/5 of a coin in each slot. :eek:
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Hey I'm Indian and we learn it like that at school, when we learn the tables.
    The way we use it, the into stands for the cross (x), so its like reading 1+2 as 1 plus 2. so 1 X 2 is read as 1 into 2 (unless of course its a cross product of vectors :/).

    I came across this thread as I was trying to figure why the heck we say it like that, as I used it today and confused for my poor supervisor. I guessed it might be archaic English that stuck in India, thanks for the link George :)
    Thanks for the information. For completeness, could I ask you how you would say 3 / 5?
     

    cantordust

    New Member
    India - Malayalam,English
    Hey yes I can totally see how into would sensibly mean division, but this into business is a usage that gets drilled into us at the age of 7 or 8..so its difficult to unlearn. I always try to remember to use 'times' when outside India, but when I'm in the middle of an engrossing discussion I forget. 3/5 we read as 3 by 5 if a fraction or if you mean division we say 3 divided by 5, and its common to use the division sign (obelus) in schools. But there are no tables for division. I can rattle off the multiplication tables like 2 into 2 4, 3 into 2 6 etc at great speed but if I replace it by times it becomes too wordy for me and I can't do it :D Funny these things..
     

    cantordust

    New Member
    India - Malayalam,English
    Yeah, lesson learnt. Luckily, I don't live in the States, but I do work with Americans sometimes :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top