BRL: Braille through Remote Learning

Intro to Braille Course

Session 7 page

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  • Session 7: Major Whole-word Contractions

    In Session 5, you were presented with the five major contractions in braille:


    In that session, we discussed the use of these contractions as used as whole-words. Recall that these contractions take precedence over other contractions, if the use of these major contractions use the same number of spaces as the combination of other contractions. For example, in the word "other", your choices are:

    o(the)r vs. o(th)(er)

    Each choice uses three braille cells. The correct choice, of course, is the first one, since the contraction for "the" takes precedence over the "lesser" contractions of "th" and "er"

    In general, these five contractions are used as part-word contractions wherever they appear in a word. Unlike some other part-word contractions, these five contractions are to be used regardless of how the word is pronounced. However, these rules are inviolate, and apply to these five major contractions:

    1. Part-word contractions may not be used when a syllable divides them
    2. Part-word contractions may not be used when a part of the contraction falls in a prefix and the rest falls into the base or root word.
    3. Part-word contractions may not be used in compound words, where one part of the contraction is in the first word and the rest of the contraction is in the second word.
    Some examples might be instructive:

    • the contraction "the" is used in the word "Athens", since the syllable break between "Ath- " and "-ens" is a minor syllable break. (My understanding of a minor syllable (although it is not defined anywhere in the standard texts) is any unstressed syllable, such as the word "cluster". Cluster is divided syllabically between the "s" and the "t", but we can use the "st" contraction since the syllable "-ter" is unstressed and therefore a minor syllable.)
    • the contraction "of" is used in the word "profit", since the syllable break lies between "prof-" and "-it".
    • the "of" contraction is not used in "professor", since "pro-" is a prefix for the root word "fessor"
    • the contraction "of" is not used in the compound word "twofold", since this word is actually the combining of two separate words.

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