The development of number-related knowledge in rural China and Taiwan is examined from several perspectives. Children growing up in rural Chinese and Taiwanese communities are soon immersed in a comparatively complex “numerical culture”. Indeed, its very complexity raises fundamental questions both about the highly variable meanings attached to numbers in China and elsewhere, and about the processes whereby children start to acquire different types of numerical knowledge. Attention is given to features of the Chinese language related to learning numbers. Market transactions are discussed as a special case in which numerical learning takes place (e.g., through an early experience of price-negotiations). Here it is suggested that the arithmetical uses of numbers merge with moral and ”fateful” ones
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