BRL: Braille through Remote Learning

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Session 7 page

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  • Session 7: Prefix/suffix part-word Contractions

    This section discusses seven part-word contractions that have no other use except as part-word contractions (well, not exactly true, but generally true!):

    Part-word contraction Braille Contraction
    ar 346
    ed 1246
    er 12456
    gh 126
    ow 246
    ing 346

    The rules for these contractions from the Summary of Rules are re-presented below:

    1. Part-Word Contractions
      1. Contractions ar, ed, er, gh, and ow
        1. Are subject to the general rules for use of contractions.
        2. Are used wherever they occur within a word.
          (ar)rival (ed)ucate (Er)ie
          b(ar)t(er) b(ed)d(ing) c(er)amics
          ne(ar) cre(ed) (ch)e(er)

          (gh)o(st) (ow)n
          r(ou)(gh)ly h(ow)l
          wei(gh) br(ow)

        3. The contractions ed, er, and ow have no word meanings, so they are used when shown standing alone.
          (Ed) [the name] (er) [vocal sound] (ow) [exclamation

      2. Contractions ing and ble
        1. Are subject to the general rules for use of contractions
        2. May never begin a word, but may begin a line in a divided word.
          (in)got bl(ed) go(ing)s em(ble)m
          s(ing)ly peb(ble) go-

    It is probably a misnomer to call these contractions prefixes and suffixes, although this the most common use of these contractions. They can, like most other contractions, be used whenever they occur in words, following the general rules concerning syllable splits that you have been exposed to in previous readings. Care should also be taken with these words to avoid splits between prefixes and suffixes and the base word. For example, the prefix "de-", as in "derail", is a common prefix. In this case, you cannot use the "er" contraction, as it splits between the prefix and the base word "rail". Compound words, such as "stateroom", should also not use these part-word contractions.

    Some specifics about this group of contractions. Several of these contractions, specifically the "er" and the "ed" contractions, are often in proximity to the diphthong and diaeresis "ae" and "oe". If the letter "d" or "r" follows one of these (such as in the word "diaeresis"), the part-word contraction should not be used.

    Two of these contractions, "er" and "ow", are often seen as vocalizations made by humans in normal speech. Unlike the "sh" contraction seen in this session, these contractions can be used is sentences like:

    "Ow! He hit me!" and "I mean -- er, I thought I meant -- to go."

    Likewise, the "ed" contraction can be used for the boy's name "Ed". These contractions mark the first encounter of this rule (1B5). If the use of one of these part-word contractions causes difficulty in pronunciation, such as the "ed" contraction in "skedaddle" or the "ing" contraction in "lingerie", you should not use the contraction. Again, a good dictionary is helpful if you need some assistance on the pronunciation of a word. There are also words, such as "shanghaied", in which the "g" and the "h" of the "gh" contraction are pronounced separately. These contractions should not be used in these cases. One of the more difficult words in this category is "dinghy". In this word, the "in" and the "gh" are pronounced separately, so the "ing" contraction may not be used. The "gh" contraction and the "in" contraction (Session 8) are to be used instead.

    Several more exceptions to the general rules:

    • the contractions "ing" and "ble" should never be used at the beginning of a word
    • the contraction "ar" may be used when the letter "a" is being used as a prefix in front of a root word beginning with the letter "r". The classic example is the word "arise". Normally, use of one of the contractions in this group would be prohibited, since the letter "a" is a prefix in front of the root word "rise". Again, the contraction "ar" is an exception to this rule.

    These contractions are a useful group, and you will find yourselves using these frequently. As such, it is useful to get to know these well!

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