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Braille Alphabet and Braille Code

Braille code is a writing system which enables blind and partially sighted people to read and write through touch.  The braille alphabet was invented by Louis Braille (1809-1852), a French teacher of the blind.  It consists of patterns of raised dots arranged in cells of up to six dots in a 3 x 2 configuration.  Each cell represents a braille letter, numeral or punctuation mark.  Some frequently used words and letter combinations also have their own single cell patterns.

There are a number of different versions of braille code:

  • Grade 1: consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet and punctuation.  It's mainly used by people who just started reading braille.
  • Grade 2: consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet, punctuation and contractions.  The contractions are employed to save space because a braille page cannot fit as much text as a standard printed page.  Books, signs in public places, menus, and most other braille materials are written in Grade 2 braille.
  • Grade 3: is used only in personal letters, diaries, and notes.  It is a kind of shorthand, with entire words shortened to a few letters. 

Braille has been adapted to write many different languages and is also used for musical and mathematical notation.  Contact Braille Works today to learn how we can help with all of your braille and alternative format needs.

Braille Letters

Image of the Uncontracted Braille (Grade 1) Alphabet

Image of words and abreviations used in Contracted Braille (Grade 2)

Image of braille punctuation, numerals and special characters

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