I wrote a little something on math for The Gadfly. While doing so, I had fun comparing parts of math to grammar:
“So first you learn the syntax. Your most basic grammar is arithmetic with fractions, square roots, and unknowns—that’s the present tense. Trigonometry and quadratic equations (factoring) are your past and future tenses. Poke around in mathematical logic and set theory: that’ll give you your various clauses and prepositional phrases. A little bit of probability won’t hurt, either. ‘Imaginary numbers’ (like ‘the square root of negative one’) are like the subjunctive tense, except they turn out to be far more important in the long run.”
It's a little bit silly, I know, but I think it works, somehow. Did you see me disregard basic geometry? Click through, and you'll see that I consigned it to the dustbin of history.