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World Braille Day

Today, January 4th, is celebrated World Braille Day, as a way to commemorate its appearance. In addition, it is a day that aims to combat discrimination against the blind and draw attention to efforts for equality.

In order to contribute to the fight against discrimination, we tried to understand what Braille is and how it works. That is why we created this article.

Braille or Braille System, is a reading and writing system created for blind people, based on the sense of touch. It was created in the mid-19th century by Louis Braille, a French pedagogue who accidentally became blind when he was just a few years old. It is based on an earlier reading and writing system invented by Charles Barbier de la Serre.

Braille is not a language or its own language, but a writing mechanism based on raised dots on a smooth surface. This is a different way of representing the traditional alphabet of verbal languages.

In short, it’s a form of writing that doesn’t require sight, just touch. Therefore, it has to be adapted to the alphabet of each language in particular: the Chinese language in Braille will remain Chinese and Spanish, Spanish.

The Braille System consists of a set of cells in which six raised dots are inscribed. They are organized according to a three-row-by-two-column matrix, which are usually numbered from top to bottom and left to right.

Thus, the presence or absence of dots makes it possible to encode the symbols of verbal language; depending on the position in which the dot(s) appear, it is one letter or another.

In this way, a possible matrix of 64 combinations (all letters and punctuation marks) is obtained. To them are added special symbols of differentiation that serve to distinguish capital letters, italics, numbers or musical notes.

There are also special signs in Braille for shorthand, for the special characters typical of each language and for mathematical signs.

Later, Braille was expanded to 8 dots to be able to encode each letter in a single cell and accommodate any ASCII (American Standard Code for the Interchange of Information) character. Therefore, the 256 possible combinations allow responding to the Unicode standard.

Braille alphabet

The Braille alphabet, as previously mentioned, varies according to the reference language. In Portuguese and other languages that use the same alphabet and is as follows:

Braille numbers

Braille numbers are coded similarly to letters, as shown in the following chart:

We hope that this article has been useful to you and that it helps raise awareness on the subject.