BRL: Braille through Remote Learning

Intro to Braille Course

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  • Braille Alphabet
  • Writing Devices
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  • Writing Exercise
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  • The Braille Alphabet

    The braille alphabet has a fairly logical algorithm or "pattern" to its design. The first ten letters - a through j -- are all what are known as "upper-cell" configurations, as they only involve dots 1,2,4, and 5. The first ten cells must be memorized. The other letters of the alphabet can be "calculated", although it is probable that with time you will memorize all 63 of the braille cells. The first row looks like this:

    first row of braille, text below

    The dot numbers are as follows:

    • a = dot 1
    • b = dots 1-2
    • c = dots 1-4
    • d= dots 1-4-5
    • e = dots 1-5
    • f = dots 1-2-4
    • g = dots 1-2-4-5
    • h = dots 1-2-5
    • i = dots 2-4
    • j = dots 2-4-5

    The next 10 letters -- k through t -- are constructed by adding dot 3 to all of the first 10 cells:

    second row of braille, text below

    The dot numbers are as follows:

    • k = dot 1-3
    • l = dots 1-2-3
    • m = dots 1-3-4
    • n = dots 1-3-4-5
    • o = dots 1-3-5
    • p = dots 1-2-3-4
    • q = dots 1-2-3-4-5
    • r = dots 1-2-3-5
    • s = dots 2-3-4
    • t = dots 2-3-4-5

    The final five letters of the alphabet are formed by adding dot 6 to the previous row. Why five, and not six? There is no "w" in the French alphabet (at least there wasn't in 1860!), so the "w" had to be invented by Americans!):

    third row of braille, text below

    The dot numbers are as follows:

    • u = dot 1-3-6
    • v = dots 1-2-3-6
    • x = dots 1-3-4-6
    • y = dots 1-3-4-5-6
    • z = dots 1-3-5-6
    • w = dots 2-4-5-6

    Words are produced simply by typing or punching each letter corresponding the print word. A single space is left between words, identical to that of handwritten or typed print.

    Reading and writing uncontracted braille words is relatively simple. Fortunately (or unfortunately!) this skill is learned only by repeated practice and use. You are provided with that opportunity in the evaluation section of this session. Mastery of the basic alphabet, both reading and writing, needs to be developed quickly so that you are able to move on to the use of contractions!


    On to Part 2: Braille Writing Devices



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