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Braille.

Braille is a system of raised dots invented in France to enable those who cannot see print to read letters, numbers, and punctuation marks by feeling the dots with their fingers. Each letter, number or punctuation mark is defined in a Braille "cell," which traditionally has two columns of three dots. This is known as six dot Braille. The dots in each column are numbered from top to bottom. Thus, the left-hand column has dots 1, 2, and 3, and the right-hand column has dots 4,5, and 6. Different combinations of dots in each cell indicate different letters, numbers, or punctuations.

Braille Styles.

6 Dot braille.

Six dot Braille is the traditional for of Braille consisting of two columns of three dots each that make up a single Braille Cell. The dots in the left column are numbered 1, 2, and 3 from the top down. The dots in the right column are 4, 5, and 6.

8 dot Braille.

Eight dot Braille was developed in the United States, because there simply weren't enough combinations of dots in the traditional six dot Braille cell to meet modern needs. The 8 dot Braille cell has two columns of four dots. The left-hand dots are typically numbered downward as 1, 2, 3, 7; and the right-hand dots are numbered downward as 4, 5, 6, 8. This allows dots 1 through 6 to have the same cell locations as their six dot Braille counterparts. This system is particularly useful in technical and scientific documents, as well as Braille music notation. You must have an iPhone 6+, iPhone 6S+, iPhone 7+, or any iPad to be able to use 8 dot Braille style. The remainder of this discussion will be limited to 6 dot Braille.

Uncontracted and Contracted Braille.

Braille can be found in two Grades. Grade 1 braille is also known as Uncontracted Braille. Grade 2 Braille is known as Contracted Braille. The two styles of Braille we've talked about so far are both Uncontracted Braille. In Uncontracted Braille, every letter, digit, and punctuation mark is represented by at least one Braille cell.. These styles of Braille made hard copy Braille books large and heavy.

In Grade 2 or Contracted Braille, the dot patterns of letters can be combined to indicate both letters, or even an entire word. Also, there are many standard word abbreviations. For example, the word, "Tomorrow," can be contracted to the letters, "T," and "M." Unless specified otherwise, any discussions of Braille at Voiceover-Easy.net will use Grade 1, or Uncontracted Braille.

The Pattern Behind 6 Dot Braille.

The letters and numbers of six dot Braille are organized in Groups of 10. The digits 1, through 9, and zero use the same combinations of dots as, "A," through "J,". The letter "A," corresponding to the digit 1, and "B," corresponding with the digit 2, and so on. The letter "I," being the ninth letter of the alphabet corresponds to the digit 9, and "J," the tenth letter of the alphabet, corresponds to the digit zero.

The letter "K," is the eleventh letter of the alphabet. It uses the same pattern as the first letter of the alphabet, "A," except dot 3 has been added to the bottom. The letter "L," is the twelth letter and corresponds to "B," with dot 3 added. This continues through letter "T,", which is the twentieth letter of the alphabet. Letter "T," corresponds to "J," the 10th letter of the alphabet, but dot 3 is added.

The letters "U," and "V," the 21st, and 22nd letters of the alphabet correspond to "A," and "B," except that now dots 3 and 6 have been added. However, there is no "W" in the French language, and this letter breaks the pattern. The letters "X," "Y," and "Z," continue the pattern as though "W" wasn't there. They correspond to the letters "C," "D," and "E," but with dots 3 and 6 added.

Since the digits 1 through 9, and zero use the same combinations as the letters "A," through "J," how do you distinguish letters from digits? You must precede each string of digits with a cell that has dots 3,4,5, and 6. This indicates that the characters between that cell and the next blank cell are to be considered digits.

The table below shows the codes for the 26 basic letters, and may help illustrate the pattern more clearly.

Table of 6 dot BrailleCharacters.
Digits. 1 =
dot 1.
2 =
dots 1, and 2.
3 =
dots 1, and 4.
4 =
dots 1, 4, and 5.
5 =
dots 1, and 5.
6 =
dots 1, 2, and 4.
7 =
dots 1, 2, 4, 5.
8 =
dots 1, 2, and 5.
9 =
dots 2, and 4.
0 =
dots 2, 4, and 5.
Letter Group 1
"A," through "J."..
"A" =
dot 1.
"B" =
dots 1, and 2.
"C" =
dots 1, and 4.
"D" =
dots 1, 4, and 5.
"E" =
dots 1, and 5.
"F" =
dots 1, 2, and 4.
"G"7 =
dots 1, 2, 4, 5.
"H" =
dots 1, 2, and 5.
"I" =
dots 2, and 4.
"J" =
dots 2, 4, and 5.
Letter Group 2
"K," through "T."..
"K" =
dot 1, and dot 3.
"L" =
dots 1, 2, and 3.
"M" =
dots 1, 3, and 4.
"N" =
dots 1, 3, 4, and 5.
"O" =
dots 1, 3, and 5.
"P" =
dots 1, 2, 3, and 4.
"Q"7 =
dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
"R" =
dots 1, 2, 3, and 5.
"S" =
dots 2, 3, and 4.
"T" =
dots 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Letter Group 3
"U," through "Z.".
"U" =
dot 1, 3, and 6.
"V" =
dots 1, 2, 3, and 6.
"X" =
dots 1, 3, 4, and 6.
"Y" =
dots 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
"Z" =
dots 1, 3, 5, and 6.
>

The pattern for the letter, "W," is dots 2, 4, 5, and 6.

Braille Capitalization.

There is no distinction between upper and lower case Braille letters. If you want to indicate a capital letter, precede it with a cell containing only dot 6. If you want an entire word to be considered capitalized, then precede the word with two consecutive cells containing only dot 6. Remember that fully capitalized words in an email or text message may be considered yelling by the recipient.

Braille Punctuation.

Below is a list of the most common punctuation marks and their 6 dot Braille cell equivalents..

  • Period, dots 2, 5, and 6.
  • Comma, dot 2.
  • Apostrophe, dot 3.
  • Semi-colon, dots 2, and 3.
  • Colon, dots 2, and 5.
  • Hyphen, dots 3, and 6.
  • Question Mark, dots 2,3, and 6.
  • Exclamation Point, dots 2,3, and 5.
  • Forward slash, dots 3, and 4. Useful for entering web addresses.
  • The @ sign, required to enter an Email address. Two cells are required. The first cell has dot 4 only, and the second has dot 1 only.

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