Icelandic Ethno-Mathematics: Íslensk þjóðháttastærðfræði

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


During the centuries, ordinary people in Iceland had few opportunities to study mathematics and few reasons to apply it. Instead, Icelanders have composed verses since medieval times, adhering to complex rules of rhymes and alliteration. They have preserved the ancient Germanic rules of prosody in the popular pastime of composing and reciting Icelandic ballads, ríma, exercised by young and old, men and women.
This artistic puzzle, to compose a meaningful text within the complex constraints of length of words, length of lines, rhymes and alliteration, is a mathematical and artistic activity meeting Ubiratan d’Ambrosio’s definition of ethnomathematics as intersections of culture, historical traditions, sociocultural roots, and mathematics. No material is needed, only a skilful mind and the memory to rehearse the product in the dark winter evenings and long summer nights at work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 6ICEm
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event6th International Conference on Ethnomathematics:
: “Knowledge(s), Diversity and Peace”
- Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
Duration: 8 Jul 201813 Jul 2018
Conference number: 6


Conference6th International Conference on Ethnomathematics:

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