This led to all kinds of visual comments of people having their hair multiplied or of cards with 2 x 3 = 6 wrapped around their heads or of multiplication facts sticking out of their hair. The English language has such a vast array of words and of words that have multiple meanings that it must be incredibly difficult to learn.
Even in math class, the way words are used academically is so different from their everyday or social meaning. Seemingly simple words like 'find', 'degree', and 'count' all have very specific meanings ini math.
The word "reduce" used in the context of reducing 4/8 to 1/2 is another word that creates problems not only for English learners but for everyone. Is it any wonder that so many young children develop the misconception that 1/2 is smaller than 4/8 when we tell them to reduce 4/8. Even the numbers get smaller.
It is so important to teach the mathematical meanings of words in context, through discussion, free of metaphor or idioms so that English learners can identify the appropiate use of certain terminology in math class.