numbered braille cell

The picture below shows you how the dots are arranged
in the braille cell for each letter of the alphabet.
Dot 1
Dots 1 2
Dots 1 4
Dots 1 4 5
Dots 1 5
Dots  1 2 4
Dots  1 2 4 5
Dots  1 2 5
Dots  2 4
Dots  2 4 5
Dots  1 3
Dots 1 2 3
Dots 1 3 4
Dots 1 3 4 5
Dots 1 3 5
Dots  1 2 3 4
Dots  1 2 3 4 5
Dots  1 2 3 5
Dots  2 3 4
Dots  2 3 4 5
Dots 1 3 6
Dots 1 2 3 6
Dots 2 4 5 6
Dots 1 3 4 6
Dots 1 3 4 5 6
Dots 1 3 5 6

Braille does not have a separate alphabet of capital letters as there is in print. Capital letters are indicated by placing a dot 6 in front of the letter to be capitalized. Two capital signs mean the whole word is capitalized.

One Letter Capitalized dot 6 Entire Word Capitalized dot 6 dot 6

Braille numbers are made using the first ten letters of the alphabet,
"a" through "j", and a special number sign, dots 3, 4, 5, and 6. Dots 3 4 5 6Dots  2 4 5Dot 1Dots 1 2Dots 1 4Dots 1 4 5Dots 1 5Dots  1 2 4Dots  1 2 4 5Dots  1 2 5Dots  2 4
01 234 567 89
Larger numbers only need one number sign. The comma in braille is dot 2.
dot 2

Expanding the Code

Now that you understand how dots are arranged in the braille cell to make the letters of the alphabet and numbers, you're ready to learn more about the code. Braille uses special characters called contractions to make words shorter. We use contractions like "don't" as a short way of writing two words, such as "do" and "not." In braille there aremany additional contractions, 189 in all! Using these contractions saves space, whichis very important because braille books are much larger and longer than print books.

Some contractions stand for a whole word and =dots 1 2 3 4 6the =dots 2 3 4 6

Other contractions stand for a group of letters within a =dots 3 4 6ed =dots 1 2 4 6

In addition to contractions, the braille code includes short-form words which are abbreviated spellings of common longer words. For example, "tomorrow" is spelled "tm","friend" is spelled "fr", and "little" is spelled "ll" in braille.

You might think that because short-form words are so easy to spell that children who write braille get a break on their spelling tests. Actually, braille readers also learn regular spelling for typing on a computer.

Let's see what kind of difference contractions make in braille. Look at the same phrase,you like him, in uncontracted braille (sometimes called "grade 1 braille") and contracted braille (sometimes called "grade 2 braille"). What do you notice about the length of the two phrases?

Uncontracted Braille: you like him

Contracted Braille: you like him

Other Braille Codes

The braille code used for writing regular text in books, magazines, school reports, and letters is known as "literary braille." There are other codes, though, that let people whoare blind write just about anything, from math problems to music notes to computer notation!

One More Comment About Braille

People sometimes ask if it would be easier to use raised print alphabet letters, rather than dots. When you read about braille, you'll learn that raised print letters were tried in the early 1800s before he invented braille. However, these letters were very difficult to read by touch, and writing them was even more of a problem.

If you ever see an experienced reader's fingers gliding across a page of braille at 100-200 words per minute, you will appreciate the genius of the simple six-dot system. Braille can be read and written with ease by both children and adults. It is truly an invention that is here to stay.

Trivia A - L Home / Fun Home / Poparound Home