Negative/Negation Sign
Mark E. Shoulson
mark at kli.org
Sat Oct 29 19:15:34 CDT 2022
The APL language used a high-minus for negative numbers and a normal
hyphen-minus for the operator, monadic or dyadic. The high-minus was
syntactically part of the number, while the regular minus operated on a
number (which would affect its precedence.) Come to think of it, when
they were teaching us negative numbers in grade school I think my math
book initially used a high-minus sign and then introduced the concept
that negation was an operation that can be done to numbers and from then
on used the regular minus sign.
Non-typographically, Lojban mathematical syntax (mekso) distinguishes
{vu'u}, the subtraction operator, from {ni'u}, the negative-number
indicator. The latter is syntactically considered a *digit*, while the
former is an operator.
Unicode has a long history of tolerating the typographic weirdness of
APL (all those APL symbols). That there isn't an APL high-minus sign
already would indicate to me that APL contents itself with U+207B
SUPERSCRIPT MINUS and that's Just Fine.
~mark
On 10/28/22 18:10, Doug Ewell via Unicode wrote:
> Gabriel Tellez wrote:
>
>> Is superscript minus use for this?
> Is *anything* used for this, outside of the TI-83 and TI-84 machines, other than an ordinary minus sign or hyphen-minus?
>
> There are actual mathematics experts on this list, but my understanding is that normal mathematical notation—as used both by experts and the general public—uses the same symbol for both unary and binary minus. The TI calculators may have distinguished between the two to make input or internal parsing easier.
>
> --
> Doug Ewell, CC, ALB | Lakewood, CO, US | ewellic.org
>
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