Braille
Overview
 
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.

Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille
Louis Braille
Louis Braille was the inventor of braille, a system of reading and writing used by people who are blind or visually impaired...

, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle
Rectangle
In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is any quadrilateral with four right angles. The term "oblong" is occasionally used to refer to a non-square rectangle...

 containing two columns of three dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the six positions to form sixty-four (26) possible subsets, including the arrangement in which no dots are raised.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.

Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille
Louis Braille
Louis Braille was the inventor of braille, a system of reading and writing used by people who are blind or visually impaired...

, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle
Rectangle
In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is any quadrilateral with four right angles. The term "oblong" is occasionally used to refer to a non-square rectangle...

 containing two columns of three dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the six positions to form sixty-four (26) possible subsets, including the arrangement in which no dots are raised. For reference purposes, a particular permutation may be described by naming the positions where dots are raised, the positions being universally numbered 1 to 3, from top to bottom, on the left, and 4 to 6, from top to bottom, on the right. For example, dots 1-3-4 (⠍) would describe a cell with three dots raised, at the top and bottom in the left column and on top of the right column, i.e., the letter m. The lines of horizontal Braille text are separated by a space, much like visible printed text, so that the dots of one line can be differentiated from the Braille text above and below. Punctuation is represented by its own unique set of characters.

History

The Braille system was based on a method of communication originally developed by Charles Barbier
Charles Barbier
Charles Barbier de la Serre was the creator of night writing.Charles Barbier de la Serre was a Captain in the French Army during the early 19th century. "Ecriture Nocturne" was invented in response to Napoleon's demand for a code that soldiers could use to communicate silently and without light at...

 in response to Napoleon's demand for a code
Code
A code is a rule for converting a piece of information into another form or representation , not necessarily of the same type....

 that soldiers could use to communicate silently and without light at night called night writing
Night writing
Night writing was a system of code that used symbols of twelve dots arranged as two columns of six dots embossed on a square of paperboard, and is now remembered as the forerunner of Braille. It was designed by Charles Barbier in response to Napoleon's demand for a code that soldiers could use to...

. Barbier's system of sets of 12 embossed dots encoding 36 different sounds was too difficult for soldiers to perceive by touch, and was rejected by the military. In 1821 he visited the National Institute for the Blind in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he met Louis Braille. Braille identified the two major defects of the code: first, by representing only sounds, the code was unable to give the orthography of the words; second, the human finger could not encompass the whole symbol without moving, and so could not move rapidly from one symbol to another. His modification was to use a 6 dot cell — the Braille system — representing all the letters of the alphabet.

At first the system was a one-to-one transliteration of French, but soon various abbreviations and contractions were developed, creating a system much more like shorthand.

Derivation

Braille is derived from the Latin alphabet, albeit indirectly. In Braille's original system, the points were assigned according to the position of the letter within the alphabetic order
Collating sequence
The term collating sequence refers to the order in which individual characters should be taken when sorting a collection of character strings using dictionary order. This article is concerned with the order of the alphabetical characters comprising variants of the Latin alphabet in various languages...

 of the French alphabet, with diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

 letters sorted at the end.

The first ten letters of the alphabet, A–J, use the upper four dot positions, 1, 2, 4, 5: ⠁⠃⠉⠙⠑⠋⠛⠓⠊⠚. These also stand for the numerals 1–0 in a system parallel to Hebrew gematria
Gematria
Gematria or gimatria is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person's age, the calendar year, or the like...

 and Greek isopsephy
Isopsephy
Isopsephy is the Greek word for the practice of adding up the number values of the letters in a word to form a single number. The early Greeks used pebbles arranged in patterns to learn arithmetic and geometry....

. (Though the dots are assigned in no obvious order, the first three letters and lowest numerals, ABC ~ 123 ⠁⠃⠉, and the vowels, AEI ⠁⠑⠊, have the fewest dots, whereas the even numerals 4680 are corners, ⠙⠋⠓⠚.)

The next ten letters, K–T, are identical to A–J, respectively, apart from the addition of a dot at position 3: ⠅⠇⠍⠝⠕⠏⠟⠗⠎⠞. The next ten letters are the same again, but with dots at both 3 and 6. Here W was left out as not being part of the basic alphabet; the order is U V X Y Z Ç É À È Ù ⠥⠧⠭⠽⠵⠯⠿⠷⠮⠾. The next ten, ending in W, are the same again, except that for this series only position 6 is used. These are Â Ê Î Ô Û Ë Ï Ü Ö W ⠡⠣⠩⠹⠱⠫⠻⠳⠪⠺. The A–J series lowered in dot space become punctuation: comma, semicolon, colon, period, (not used), exclamation point, parentheses, question mark, (not used), quotation marks: ⠂⠆⠒⠲⠢⠖⠶⠦⠔⠴. A and C, which only use the top row, were lowered two spaces for the apostrophe and hyphen: ⠄⠤. In addition, a few letters used upper-space patterns which are not letters by themselves: 4 (by itself the acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

 for letters other than É) with 3, 3-6, and 6 makes Ì, Ò, decimal point, ⠌⠬⠨; 4-5 with the same makes Ä, numeral sign, ellipsis: ⠜⠼⠸

Form

Braille can be seen as the world's first binary
Binary numeral system
The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, represents numeric values using two symbols, 0 and 1. More specifically, the usual base-2 system is a positional notation with a radix of 2...

 encoding
Character encoding
A character encoding system consists of a code that pairs each character from a given repertoire with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the transmission of data through telecommunication networks or storage of text in...

 scheme for representing the characters of a writing system
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

. The system as originally invented by Braille consists of two parts:
  1. A character encoding
    Character encoding
    A character encoding system consists of a code that pairs each character from a given repertoire with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the transmission of data through telecommunication networks or storage of text in...

     for mapping characters of the French language
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

     to tuple
    Tuple
    In mathematics and computer science, a tuple is an ordered list of elements. In set theory, an n-tuple is a sequence of n elements, where n is a positive integer. There is also one 0-tuple, an empty sequence. An n-tuple is defined inductively using the construction of an ordered pair...

    s of six bit
    Bit
    A bit is the basic unit of information in computing and telecommunications; it is the amount of information stored by a digital device or other physical system that exists in one of two possible distinct states...

    s or dots.
  2. A way of representing six-bit characters as raised dots in a Braille cell.


Today different Braille codes (or code page
Code page
Code page is another term for character encoding. It consists of a table of values that describes the character set for a particular language. The term code page originated from IBM's EBCDIC-based mainframe systems, but many vendors use this term including Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle Corporation...

s) are used to map character sets of different languages to the six bit cells. Different Braille codes are also used for different uses like mathematics and music. However, because the six-dot Braille cell only offers 63 possible combinations (26 - 1 = 63), of which some are omitted because they feel the same (having the same dots pattern in a different position, e.g. ⠊ and ⠔), many Braille characters have different meanings based on their context. Therefore, character mapping is not one-to-one.

In addition to simple encoding, modern Braille transcription uses contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s to increase reading speed. (See: Grade 2 Braille)

Writing Braille

Braille may be produced using a slate and stylus
Slate and stylus
The slate and stylus are tools used by blind persons to write text that they can read without assistance. Invented by Charles Barbier and Louis Braille as the tool for "writing" Braille, the slate and stylus allow for a quick, easy, convenient and constant method of making embossed printing for...

in which each dot is created from the back of the page, writing in mirror image, by hand, or it may be produced on a Braille typewriter or Perkins Brailler
Perkins Brailler
The Perkins Brailler is a "braille typewriter" with a key corresponding to each of the six dots of the braille code, a space key, a backspace key, and a line space key. Like a manual typewriter, it has two side knobs to advance paper through the machine and a carriage return lever above the keys...

, or produced by a Braille embosser
Braille embosser
A Braille embosser is a printer, necessarily an impact printer, that renders text as tactile Braille cells. Using Braille translation software, a document can be embossed with relative ease, making Braille production much more efficient and cost-effective....

 attached to a computer. It may also be rendered using a refreshable Braille display
Refreshable Braille display
A refreshable Braille display or Braille terminal is an electro-mechanical device for displaying Braille characters, usually by means of raising dots through holes in a flat surface. Blind computer users, who cannot use a normal computer monitor, use it to read text output...

.

Braille has been extended to an 8-dot code, particularly for use with Braille embossers and refreshable Braille displays. In 8-dot Braille the additional dots are added at the bottom of the cell, giving a matrix 4 dots high by 2 dots wide. The additional dots are given the numbers 7 (for the lower-left dot) and 8 (for the lower-right dot). Eight-dot Braille has the advantages that the case of an individual letter is directly coded in the cell containing the letter and that all the printable ASCII
ASCII
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange is a character-encoding scheme based on the ordering of the English alphabet. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text...

 characters can be represented in a single cell. All 256 (28) possible combinations of 8 dots are encoded by the Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 standard. Braille with six dots is frequently stored as Braille ASCII
Braille ASCII
Braille ASCII is a subset of the ASCII character set which uses 64 of the printable ASCII characters to represent all possible dot combinations in six-dot Braille...

.

The first ten letters of the alphabet are formed using only the top four dots (1, 2, 4, and 5). Reminiscent of Greek numerals
Greek numerals
Greek numerals are a system of representing numbers using letters of the Greek alphabet. They are also known by the names Ionian numerals, Milesian numerals , Alexandrian numerals, or alphabetic numerals...

, these symbols also represent the digits 1 through 9 and 0 (preceded by the symbol [number follows]; [number follows]j also stands for 10, within context). Adding dot 3 forms the next ten letters, and adding dot 6 forms the last six letters (except w) and the words and, for, of, the, and with. Omitting dot 3 from the letters U-Z and the five word symbols form nine digraphs (ch, gh, sh, th, wh, ed, er, ou, and ow) and the letter w.

Other symbols

Note:

* The question mark
Question mark
The question mark , is a punctuation mark that replaces the full stop at the end of an interrogative sentence in English and many other languages. The question mark is not used for indirect questions...

 is represented by dots 2-3-6—the same as the opening quotation mark. Therefore the placement of the dots—before a word or after a word—will determine which symbol it is.

** Opening and closing parentheses are shown with the same symbol. Therefore, the placement context will determine whether the parentheses is opening or closing.

Grade 2 Braille contractions

This is just a small sample of some of the contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s that are used in Grade 2 Braille. More information about Grade 2 Braille is below in the section on Braille transcription.

Braille also includes a number of whole word contractions, for example the word Braille becomes a three cell word brl.

Unicode rendering table

The Unicode standard encodes 8-dot Braille glyphs according to their binary appearance, rather than following the alphabetic order of any particular convention. Unicode defines the "Braille Patterns" character block in the hex codepoint range from 2800 to 28FF. Dot 1 corresponds to the least significant bit
Least significant bit
In computing, the least significant bit is the bit position in a binary integer giving the units value, that is, determining whether the number is even or odd. The lsb is sometimes referred to as the right-most bit, due to the convention in positional notation of writing less significant digits...

 of the low byte of the Unicode scalar value, and dot 8 to the high bit of that byte.

Most Braille embosser
Braille embosser
A Braille embosser is a printer, necessarily an impact printer, that renders text as tactile Braille cells. Using Braille translation software, a document can be embossed with relative ease, making Braille production much more efficient and cost-effective....

s and refreshable Braille display
Refreshable Braille display
A refreshable Braille display or Braille terminal is an electro-mechanical device for displaying Braille characters, usually by means of raising dots through holes in a flat surface. Blind computer users, who cannot use a normal computer monitor, use it to read text output...

s do not yet support the Unicode rendering table; instead they use Braille ASCII
Braille ASCII
Braille ASCII is a subset of the ASCII character set which uses 64 of the printable ASCII characters to represent all possible dot combinations in six-dot Braille...

 for 6-dot Braille. Some embossers have proprietary control codes for 8-dot Braille and/or for full graphics mode (where dots may be placed anywhere on the page without leaving any space between Braille cells, hence continuous lines can be drawn in diagrams) but these are rarely used and are not standard.

Page dimensions

Most Braille embosser
Braille embosser
A Braille embosser is a printer, necessarily an impact printer, that renders text as tactile Braille cells. Using Braille translation software, a document can be embossed with relative ease, making Braille production much more efficient and cost-effective....

s support between 34 and 37 cells per line, and between 25 and 28 lines per page.

A manually-operated Perkins Braille typewriter supports a maximum of 42 cells per line (its margins are adjustable), and typical paper allows 25 lines per page.

A large interlining Stainsby has 36 cells per line and 18 lines per page.

An A4-sized Marburg Braille frame, which allows interpoint Braille (dots on both sides of the page, positioned out of phase
Phase
-In physics:*Phase , a physically distinctive form of a substance, such as the solid, liquid, and gaseous states of ordinary matter**Phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase to another*Phase...

 so they do not interfere with each other) has 30 cells per line and 27 lines per page.

A refreshable Braille display
Refreshable Braille display
A refreshable Braille display or Braille terminal is an electro-mechanical device for displaying Braille characters, usually by means of raising dots through holes in a flat surface. Blind computer users, who cannot use a normal computer monitor, use it to read text output...

 typically has one line of between 18 and 40 cells, although 80 is possible.

Literacy

A sighted child who is reading at a basic level should be able to understand common words and answer simple questions about the information presented. He should also have enough fluency to get through the material in a timely manner. Over the course of a child's education, these foundations are built upon in order to teach higher levels of math, science, and comprehension skills. Children who are blind not only have the educational disadvantage of not being able to see, but they also miss out on the very fundamental parts of early and advanced education if not provided with the necessary tools.

Braille literacy statistics

In 1960, 50% of legally blind, school-age children were able to read Braille in the U.S. According to the 2007 Annual Report from the American Printing House for the Blind, there are approximately 57,696 legally blind children in the U.S. Out of those school-age children, only 10% use Braille as their primary reading medium.

There are numerous causes for the decline in Braille usage, including school budget constraints, technology advancement, and different philosophical views over how blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 children should be educated.

A key turning point for Braille literacy was the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, an act of Congress
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by government with a legislature named "Congress," such as the United States Congress or the Congress of the Philippines....

 that moved thousands of children from specialized schools for the blind into mainstream
Mainstreaming
Pilot or policy Mainstreaming is the act of broadening the application of a change or innovation from a small-scale pilot to the whole of a programme or policy domain. It involves recognising that the results of an experiment are positive and the learning deserves to be applied more widely...

 public schools. Because only a small percentage of public schools could afford to train and hire Braille-qualified teachers, Braille literacy has declined since the law took effect. Braille literacy rates have improved slightly since the bill was passed, in part because of pressure from consumers and advocacy groups that has led 27 states to pass legislation mandating that children who are legally blind be given the opportunity to learn Braille.

In 1998-99 there were approximately 55,200 legally blind children, but only 5,500 of them used Braille as their primary reading medium. Early Braille education is crucial to literacy for a visually impaired child. A study conducted in the state of Washington found that people who learned Braille at an early age did just as well, if not better, than their sighted peers in several areas, including vocabulary and comprehension. In the preliminary adult study, while evaluating the correlation between adult literacy skills and employment, it was found that 44% of the participants who had learned to read in Braille were unemployed, compared to the 77% unemployment rate of those who had learned to read using print. Currently, among the estimated 85,000 blind adults in the United States, 90% of those who are Braille literate are employed. Among adults who do not know Braille, only 33% are employed. Statistically, history has proven that Braille reading proficiency provides an essential skill set that allows visually impaired children not only to compete with their sighted peers in a school environment, but also later in life as they enter the workforce.

Though Braille is thought to be the main way blind people read and write, in Britain (for example) out of the reported 2 million visually impaired population, it is estimated that only around 15-20 thousand people use Braille. Younger people are turning to electronic text on computers with screen reader
Screen reader
A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen . This interpretation is then re-presented to the user with text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille output device...

 software instead, a more portable communication method that they can also use with their friends. A debate has started on how to make Braille more attractive and for more teachers to be available to teach it.

Braille transcription

Although it is possible to transcribe Braille by simply substituting the equivalent Braille character for its printed equivalent, such a character-by-character transcription (known as Grade 1 Braille) is used only by beginners.

Braille characters are much larger than their printed equivalents, and the standard 11" by 11.5" (28 cm × 30 cm) page has room for only 25 lines of 43 characters. To reduce space and increase reading speed, virtually all Braille books are transcribed in what is known as Grade 2 Braille, which uses a system of contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s to reduce space and speed the process of reading. As with most human linguistic activities, Grade 2 Braille embodies a complex system of customs, styles, and practices. The Library of Congress's Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing runs to nearly 200 pages. Braille transcription is skilled work, and Braille transcribers need to pass certification tests.

In English, the system of Grade 2 Braille contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s begins with a set of 23 words which are contracted to single characters. Thus the word but is contracted to the single letter b, can to c, do to d, and so on. Even this simple rule creates issues requiring special cases; for example, d is, specifically, an abbreviation of the verb do; the noun do representing the note of the musical scale is a different word, and must be spelled out.

Portions of words may be contracted, and many rules govern this process. For example, the character with dots 2-3-5 (the letter "f" lowered in the Braille cell) stands for "ff" when used in the middle of a word. At the beginning of a word, this same character stands for the word "to" although the character is written in Braille with no space following it; this contraction was removed in the Unified English Braille Code
Unified English Braille Code
Unified English Braille Code is an English language Braille code developed to permit representing the wide variety of literary and technical material in use in the English-speaking world today...

. At the end of a word, the same character represents an exclamation point.

One problem that can occur when reading Grade 2 Braille is that some contractions are closely similar, even when the words are not. One example compares the contractions "ll", meaning little, and "lr", meaning letter from Barry Hampshire's "Working with Braille". The Braille notation for the letter "r" differs only by adding one dot to the letter "l". This causes greater confusion between words that are not as similar in normal print and can hinder the learning process of Grade 2 Braille.

The contraction rules take into account the linguistic structure of the word; thus, contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s are not to be used when their use would alter the usual Braille form of a base word to which a prefix or suffix has been added. And some portions of the transcription rules are not fully codified and rely on the judgment of the transcriber. Thus, when the contraction rules permit the same word in more than one way, preference is given to "the contraction that more nearly approximates correct pronunciation."

Grade 3 Braille is a system that includes many additional contraction
Contraction (grammar)
A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

s, almost a shorthand; it is not used for publication, but is used mostly for individuals for their personal convenience.

Braille reading techniques

Since Braille is one of the few writing systems where tactile perception is used, as opposed to visual perception, a Braille reader must develop new skills. One skill important for Braille readers is the ability to create smooth and even pressures when running one's fingers along the words. There are many different styles and techniques used for the understanding and development of Braille, even though a study by B. F. Holland suggests that there is no specific technique that is superior to any other.

Another study by Lowenfield & Abel shows that Braille could be read "the fastest and best... by students who read using the index fingers of both hands." Another important reading skill emphasized in this study is to finish reading the end of a line with the right hand and to find the beginning of the next line with the left hand simultaneously. One final conclusion drawn by both Lowenfield and Abel is that children have difficulty using both hands independently where the right hand is the dominant hand. But this hand preference does not correlate to other activities.

Braille for other scripts

There are many extensions of Braille for additional letters with diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

s, such as ç, ô, é.

When Braille is adapted to languages that do not use the Latin script, the blocks are generally assigned to the new alphabet according to how it is transliterated into the Latin alphabet. The alphabetic order of the national script (and therefore the natural order of Latin Braille) is disregarded. Such is the case with Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and Chinese. Greek, for example, gamma is written as Latin g, despite the fact that it has the alphabetic position of c; Hebrew bet, the second letter of the alphabet and cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 with the Latin letter b, is sometimes pronounced /b/ and sometimes /v/, and is written b or v accordingly; Russian ts is written as c, which is the usual letter for /ts/ in those Slavic languages that use the Latin alphabet; and Arabic f is written as f, despite being historically p, and occurring in that part of the Arabic alphabet (between historic o and q). Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

 letters with circumflexes, ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ and ŝ, are written as those letters without circumflexes with a filled sixth dot. Therefore the letter ĵ has the same representation as the English w (⠺), to write a w in Esperanto dot 3 is filled (⠾). The ŭ, used in Esperanto also, is as the u (⠥), but the first dot is moved to the fourth place (⠬).

Greater differences occur in Chinese Braille. In the case of Mandarin Braille, which is based on Zhuyin rather than the Latin Pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 alphabet, the traditional Latin Braille values are used for initial consonants and the simple vowels. However, on Latin Braille for many of the initial consonants and simple vowels (based on romanizations of a century ago), but the blocks pull double duty, with different values depending on whether they are placed in syllable-initial or syllable-final position. For instance, the block for Latin k represents old-style Cantonese k (g in Yale
Yale Romanization
The Yale romanizations are four systems created at Yale University for romanizing the four East Asian languages of Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese...

 and other modern romanizations) when initial, but aak when final, while Latin j represents Cantonese initial j but final oei.

At least three adaptations of Braille have completely reassigned the Latin sound values of the blocks: Japanese Braille, Korean Braille, and Tibetan Braille. In Japanese Braille
Japanese Braille
Japanese braille is a braille code for writing the Japanese language. It is based on the original braille system. In Japanese it is known as , literally "dot characters". Below is a basic chart of Japanese braille with the Japanese hiragana character followed by the standard roman character reading...

, alphabetic signs for a consonant and vowel are combined into a single syllabic block; in Korean Braille
Korean Braille
Korean braille is a braille code used for writing the Korean language. It is not graphically related to other braille systems found around the world. Instead, it reflects the patterns found in hangul. It is a combination of initial consonants, vowels, and final consonants...

, the consonants have different syllable-initial and syllable-final forms. These modifications made Braille much more compatible with Japanese kana
Kana
Kana are the syllabic Japanese scripts, as opposed to the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji and the Roman alphabet known as rōmaji...

 and Korean hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

 but meant that the Latin sound values could not be maintained.

Uses

The current series of Canadian banknotes has a tactile feature
Canadian currency tactile feature
The Canadian currency tactile feature is a feature on the current "Canadian Journey" series of Canadian banknotes. The feature indicates the banknote denomination in the upper right corner of the face side of the bill using a series of raised dots. It was suggested by Bruno Thériault, an...

 consisting of raised dots that indicate the denomination, allowing bills to be easily identified by visually impaired people. It does not use standard Braille; rather, the feature uses a system developed in consultation with blind and visually impaired Canadians after research indicated that not all potential users read Braille.
Mexican bank notes and Indian Rupee notes also have special raised symbols to make them identifiable by the visually impaired.

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 there are instances where the parliament acts have been published in Braille, such as 'The Right to Information Act'.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires various building signage to be in Braille.

Unicode

Braille was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 Standard in September, 1999 with the release of version 3.0.

The Unicode block for Braille is U+2800 ... U+28FF:

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