Braille: The Language of Hidden Words

Braille is complicated. That is the best way to put it. It is not easily understood, in fact quite the opposite. What is Braille? When you sightees look at Braille, all you see is a series of dot connected in some random order. There is a method to this madness. The first thing you should know when starting to learn Braille is that there are 2 different ways of writing it. Contracted and uncontracted Braille. Uncontracted Braille is how it sounds. It is every letter written out and therefore it is longer. Similar to how contractions shorten words in the english language, contracted Braille is a shortened version of Braille. 

Let’s start with the basics. Each Braille letter is made up of a different configuration of the six dots. Depending on the organization of the dots, different letters are made. Basically, Braille is a game of memorization. If you can learn the placement of the six dots and memorize the pattern in which they are organized to make different letters, you will soon be on your way to learning so much more about the language. 

Image result for the basic unit of braille

As shown in this picture, A is the simplest letter because it comes first. A is made up of dot 1. B is made up of dot 2&3. The numbers increase as the dots continue down. So, the first three dots on the left are 1, 2, and 3. The three dots on the right are dots 4, 5, and 6. So, to give an example of a simple Braille sentence that is just using each individual letter (uncontracted), one could say: 

⠓⠑⠇⠇⠕⠀⠍⠽⠀⠝⠁⠍⠑⠀⠊⠎⠀⠵⠕⠑⠀⠁⠝⠙⠀⠠⠊⠀⠓⠁⠧⠑⠀⠁⠀⠃⠇⠕⠛⠀⠺⠓⠑⠗⠑⠀⠠⠊⠀⠺⠗⠊⠞⠑⠀⠁⠃⠕⠥⠞⠀⠃⠇⠊⠝⠙⠝⠑⠎⠎

If you compare the alphabet above, with a little concentration, you should be able to figure out what this sentence is saying. I get it, Braille is hard and complicated, but for some it is the only thing that they have. Braille might be the only way that someone who is blind/visually impaired can communicate on paper with someone else. 

Also, a common question i am asked, How do I communicate with blind people? The answer is simple. With your lips. You communicate with blind people the same way that you would communicate with the rest of the population because blind people are very much like the rest of us and therefore should be given the same rights and opportunities as others. 

I have a funny joke for you. How does a blind person read “Do Not Touch” in Braille? Short answer. They don’t. 

So there it is. Here is Braille 101. If you are interested in me doing a similar blog post where I go more into depth and explain contracted Braille, please leave a comment down below. For now, I would like to give a shout out to Louis Braille, the man that changed the life of visually impaired people everywhere. Thank you to all the people who work tirelessly to make strives in the blind community. Even if you don’t know it, you are helping the blind community in ways you will never know. 

Remember that all blind people are different. Depending on their impairment, they may not use Braille. Not all visually impaired people are confident in certain things so remember to be understanding because one of the few things you can do is sympathize. Do not say you understand, because 9/10 times you do not unless you are visually impaired. It is hard to learn Braille and to be confident with it, but it is possible. I hope that anyone who is visually impaired and reading this knows how special each and every one of you are to the world. Do not let anyone take your spirit or your motivation. Keep pushing forward and breaking boundaries for those who come after you!

As always, do not forget to give this blog post a comment if you have any other ideas for me to blog about. If you would like me to start a YouTube channel on my journey to get a guide dog, please comment down below and let me know. 

Thanks everyone!

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