Did you know that the language can at times dictate the way people view math? The following is a slight modification of a problem given to me by Matt Emschweiler:
A children’s math problem was translated by two different people (a mathematician and a literature major) from two distinct ancient languages that are no longer spoken. The first translator only translated the first sentence which reads: “There are 11 birds sitting on the west city wall.” The second translator only translated the second sentence which reads: “If 3 birds flew away, how many are left?” Although this problem was written for young children, it is currently often misinterpreted and answered incorrectly. Knowing this, how many birds would be left and why? Believe it or not, an infinite number of answers could be given, but in this case, the smallest answer is desired.
The answer to this Problem of the Week can be found here.