In a recent VisionAware blog post about the misconceptions of braille, one of those pointed out was that braille is not a language of its own. Braille is a code comprised of dots in cells or groups of 6. A cell may have 2 vertical rows of 3 dots. These dots have cell position starting in the left vertical row, the top position is dot 1, dot 2 is beneath it, and dot 3 is on the bottom. Dots 4 is the top of the right vertical row, with 5 and 6 beneath it. A character is identified by the number of dots, and the position of the dots in a cell. For example, the letter “a” is signified by a single dot at the top of the first vertical row, or dot 1. A “b” has a dot in dot 1 and dot 2…and so on.
The point is, that braille is simply another way of writing the alphabet, in a way that can be felt. A form of braille, called contracted braille, does have some combinations of letters and rules, unique to braille, but nothing close to approaching a unique language. In contracted braile, you would expect to find the same number of cells for a word as you would characters.
In this way, you will use braille for whatever language you use natively, you will not learn a new language, just a different way to write or read your language. For a free copy of a tactile braille alphabet card contact National Braille Press or download the Braille Alphabet and Numbers from LouisBrailleSchool.org for a printable PDF document.
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Day 11: 31 Days of Braille