Braille - A Language for Blind People

 

The Braille system was created in 1821 by a Frenchman, Louis Braille. It is a method widely use by blind people to read and write. Each letter or number in Braille is made up of a cell that has six up to raised dots in two rows of three dots each, which means 64 possible combinations. Blind people read Braille by moving their fingers over these cells and feeling the letters and numbers.

Louis Braille became blind himself at the age of three. He developed the system in order to improve the books he used at school. He changed a code he got from a soldier and made it simple so that everyone could learn it. The creation of Braille opened the door to blind people all over the world.

 

Today different Braille codes are used to show letters in different languages. Sets of codes are also used for mathematics and music.

Braille cell code

 

In Braille, a cell dot pattern gives you the letter to read. The dot height is about 0.5 mm; the space between dots is about 2.5 mm. A standard page in Braille has about 40 – 43 cells per line and about 25 lines. Larger cells are often used by those who have problems feeling the normal Braille cells.

Most languages have two grades of Braille. Grade one is used by beginners. Each letter of the word is spelled out. Grade two Braille is an advanced form. It makes reading and writing quicker because it has special codes for words or groups of letters that are often used in that language. Almost all books use this grade because it saves space and makes reading quicker.

When writing in Braille you need a slate and a stylus in which each dot is created writing from right to left at the back of the page. There are also special Braille keyboards that you can attach to a computer.

Although Braille is thought to be the main way that blind people can read and write, only few people really use it. In Great Britain, for example only about 20,000 out of 2 million visually impaired actually use Braille. Younger people tend to use electronic text on computers instead. A debate has started on how to make Braille more attractive to users.

 

A Braille Writer

A Braille writer - MASA

 

Related Topics

 

 

Words

  • advanced = here: more complicated
  • although = while
  • attach = connect to
  • cell =unit
  • develop =here:make
  • dot = a small round circle
  • grade = here: group
  • height = how high or tall something is
  • improve = to make better
  • pattern =when objects are always arranged in the same way
  • raised =higher
  • row =a line of objects
  • set = group
  • slate =a board to write on
  • stylus =something that looks like a pen ; you can write with it on wax or on special computer screens
  • tend = rather
  • visually impaired = people who are blind or those who have problems with their eyesight
  • widely = very often, by many people