The greatest invention in ancient China is not the four great inventions, but the one we learned when we were young!

The greatest inventions in ancient China were not gunpowder, compass, movable type printing and compass, and they have been with us since we were young.

Recently, it has been reported that the UK is actively introducing mathematics teaching experience to China. One of the most important links is to try to introduce the traditional Chinese “99 multiplication table” to the UK. According to the head of the national Arithmetic Association, 78% of British adults’ Math level is lower than the passing standard of junior high school examination. Some people even think that once British people leave the calculator, they can’t even do simple multiplication and division.

In fact, it is not only the British who are not good at mathematics, but also Germany, France and many other European countries do not have such systematic primary algorithms. The reason is that the Chinese people are ahead of the others in basic mathematics education because of their innate advantages in pronunciation and word formation. Moreover, the differences in grammar, pronunciation and the expression of early numbers (such as Roman numerals) make the European way of thinking different from the Oriental. Take French as an example, the number 71 is equivalent to 60 + 11, and the number 99 is equivalent to 4×20 + 10 + 9, which makes the basic mathematical calculation extremely complicated.

However, even the introduction of the “99 multiplication table” may not be acclimatized in the UK. Taking “37 21” as an example, Chinese pronunciation is rhythmic and easy to remember, while English “three seven twenty one” is rather tongue twister. However, the British education department is quite determined. Even if there are such difficulties, it hopes to promote the “99 multiplication table” in British primary schools, so as to reverse the long-term unfavorable situation.

“Jiu Jiu FA Ge Jue” appeared as early as the spring and Autumn period and Warring States period in China. In Xunzi, Guanzi, Huainanzi and ZhanGuoCe, we can find sentences such as “3927”, “6848”, “4832”, “6636”. For more than two thousand years, the “Jiujiu song” recited by Chinese people since childhood is not worth paying attention to by ordinary people. People often compare “more thoughts” to “little Jiujiu”. However, from a historical point of view, and even looking into the future, the historical significance of the invention of the “Nine Nine Multiplication Table” by ancient Chinese is likely to be greater than the four great inventions!

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