English Braille
American Edition



Definition of Braille

Rules of Braille
  1. Punctuation Signs
  2. Special Composition Signs
  3. Format
  4. Asterisk, Footnotes, References
  5. Accent Sign, Diphthongs, Foreign Languages
  6. Abbreviations
  7. Numbers and Roman Numerals
  8. Coinage, Weights, and Other Special Symbols
  9. Poetry, Scansion, and Stress
  10. General Use of Contractions
  11. One-cell whole-word contractions
  12. One-cell part-word contractions
  13. Lower Signs
  14. Initial-letter contractions
  15. Final-letter contractions
  16. Short-form words

  • Index
    Typical and Problem Words

  • Index
    BRL Courses
  • Intro to Braille
  • Braille Transcribers
  • Specialized Codes


    BANA Resources Tools and resources Organizations

    Other links

             Braille is a system of touch reading for the blind which employs embossed dots evenly arranged in quadrangular letter spaces or cells. In each cell, it is possible to place six dots, three high and two wide. By selecting one or several dots in characteristic position or combination, 63 different characters can be formed. To aid in describing these characters by their dot or dots, the six dots of the cell are numbered 1, 2, 3, downward on the left, and 4, 5, 6, downward on the right, thus:

    1 4
    2 5
    3 6

             The 63 possible characters have a systematic arrangement and are universally grouped in a table of seven lines, as follows:

    1st Line a b c d e f g h i j
    2nd Line k l m n o p q r s t
    3rd Line u v x y z & = ( ! )
    4th Line * < % ? : $ ] \ [ w
    5th Line 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
    6th Line / + # > ' -
    7th Line @ ^ _ " . ; ,

      Line 1 is formed of dots 1, 2, 4, 5.

      Line 2 adds dot 3 to each of the characters of Line 1.

      Line 3 adds dots 3-6 to each of the characters of Line 1.

      Line 4 adds dot 6 to each of the characters of Line 1.

      Line 5 repeats the characters of Line 1 in the lower portion of the cell, using dots
      2, 3, 5, 6.

      Line 6 is formed of dots 3, 4, 5, 6.

      Line 7 is formed of dots 4, 5, 6.

               Braille, as officially approved, comprises two grades. Grade 1 Braille is in full spelling and consists of the letters of the alphabet, punctuation, numbers, and a number of composition signs which are special to braille. Grade 2 Braille consists of Grade 1 and 189 contractions and short-form words, and should be known as "English Braille." However, uncontracted braille should be designated as "English Braille Grade 1." Below is a complete chart of the braille characters and their meanings:
               (Note: For other grades of braille, see App. C.)


    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
    a b c d e f g h i j
    a b c d e f g h i j
    k l m n o p q r s t
    k l m n o p q r s t
    u v w x y z        
    u v w x y z        


    Sign   Meaning
    1 , comma; non-Latin letter indicator
    2 ; semicolon
    3 : colon
    4 . period
    6 ! exclamation
    7 ( ) opening and closing parentheses
    ,7 [ opening bracket
    7' ] closing bracket
    8 " ? opening double quotation mark; question mark
    ,8 ' opening single quotation mark
    99 * asterisk
    0 " closing double quotation mark
    0' ' closing single quotation mark
    / / bar; oblique stroke; fraction-line sign
    # # number sign
    > / : | line sign
    ' ' _ apostrophe
    ''' ... ellipsis
    - - hyphen


    Sign Meaning
    -- dash
    ----   braille double dash
    @   accent sign; print symbol indicator
    .   italic sign; decimal point
    ..   double italic sign
    ;   letter sign
    ,   capital sign
    ,,   double capital sign
    ,'   termination sign
    "1 " ditto sign


    Sign Meaning Sign Meaning Sign Meaning
    b but v very [ ow
    c can w will 1 ea
    d do x it 2 be* bb
    e every y you 3 con cc
    f from z as 4 dis dd
    g go & and* 5 en enough
    h have = for* 6 to ff
    j just ( of* 7 were gg
    k knowledge ! the* 8 his
    l like ) with* 9 in*
    m more * ch child 96 into
    n not < gh 0 was by
    p people % sh shall / st still
    q quite ? th this + ing
    r rather : wh which # ble
    s so $ ed > ar
    t that ] er - com
    u us \ ou out    

    *These are used as both one-cell whole-word and part-word signs.


        Initial-letter Conctractions Preceded by   Final-letter Contractios Preceded by  
    Sign dot 5 dots 4-5 dots 4-5-6 dots 4-6 dots 5-6 dot 6
    c cannot
    d day ound
    e ever ance ence
    f father
    g ong
    h here had
    k know
    l lord ful
    m mother many
    n name sion tion ation
    p part
    q question
    r right
    s some spirit less ness
    t time ount ment
    u under upon
    w work word world
    y young ity ally
    ! there these their
    * character
    ? through those
    : where whose


    ab about al? although
    abv above alt altogether
    ac according alw always
    acr across 2c because
    af after 2f before
    afn afternoon 2h behind
    afw afterward 2l below
    ag again 2n beneath
    ag/ against 2s beside
    alm almost 2t betweeen
    alr already 2y beyond
    al also bl blind
    brl braille ll little
    *n children m* much
    3cv conceive m/ must
    3cvg conceiving myf myself
    cd could nec necessary
    dcv deceive nei neither
    dcvg deceiving o'c o'clock
    dcl declare "of oneself
    dclg declaring \rvs ourselves
    ei either pd paid
    f/ first p]cv perceive
    fr friend p]cvg perceiving
    gd good p]h perhaps
    grt great qk quick
    h]f herself rcv receive
    hm him rcvg receiving
    hmf himself rjc rejoice
    imm immediate rjcg rejoicing
    xs its sd said
    xf itself %d should
    lr letter s* such
    !mvs themselves    
    ?yf thyself    
    td today, to-day    
    tgr together    
    tm tomorrow, to-morrow    
    tn tonight, to-night    
    wd would    
    yr your    
    yrf yourself    
    yrvs yourselves    

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