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


    Sign Meaning
    1 non-Latin letter indicator
    # number sign
    @ accent sign; print symbol indicator
    . italic sign; (also decimal point)
    .. double italic sign
    ; letter sign
    , capital sign
    ,, double capital sign
    ,' termination sign transcriber's note symbol(beginning and ending)
    1. Order of Punctuation and Composition Signs: When two or more braille punctuation marks or composition signs occur together before a word, number or letter, they are placed in the following order:
      Order With Punctuation Order With Numbers
      Open parenthesis or bracket Open parenthesis or bracket
      Open quotation sign Open quotation sign
      Italic sign Italic sign
      Non-Latin letter indicator Print symbol indicator
      Print symbol indicator Number sign
      Letter sign Apostrophe
      Apostrophe Decimal sign
      Capital sign
      Accent sign


        ("X marks the spot.") 78..;,x m>ks !
        "'Tis true." 8.',tis .true40
        Étude 43 .,@etude .#dc
        '59 #'ei
      1. Capitalization:
        Single capital sign ,
        Double capital sign ,,
        a. The capital sign, when placed at the beginning of a word, indicates that only the first letter of the word or contraction which follows is capitalized. In hyphenated compound words, the capitalization should be shown as in print. Ex:
          John Adams, Vice-President ,john ,adams1
          b.  The double capital sign placed at the beginning of a word indicates that all of the letters of the word, hyphenated compound word, or letter-group are capitalized. It should not be repeated after the hyphen or apostrophe, nor at the beginning of the next line in a hyphenated or divided word. Ex:
          A SELF-MADE MAN
          ,a ,,self-made ,,man
          O'CONNOR ,,O'3nor
          MacDONALD ,mac,,donald
          SOS ,,SOS
          CON- ,,con-
          GRESS gress
          AAIB-AAWB ,,aaib-aawb
          McGRAW-HILL ,mc,,graw-hill
          R...D (ROUND) ,,r'''d
          F....ING (FIGHTING) ,,f''''+

        1.  Italics:
          Single italic sign .
          Double italic sign ..
          a.  The italic sign is placed before an abbreviation, word, apostrophized word, hyphenated compound word, or number, to indicate that it is italicized. The italic sign is not to be repeated after the hyphen or the apostrophe. In a divided word, or number, the italic sign should not be repeated at the beginning of the next line. Ex:
          a priori .a .priori
          e.g. .e4g4
          President .,presid5t
          l'orange .l'orange
          o'clock .o'c
          blue-eyed .blue-ey$
          out-of-the-way .\-(-!-way
          1914-1918 .#aiad-aiah
          dis- .dis- 123,- .#abc1-
          graced grac$ 453,278 dec1bgh
          (Note: Although italics are very common in print, in many instances they have no value to the braille reader.)
          (1)  Italics must be used in braille if they are used in print only in the following instances:
          (2) Italics should be omitted in such instances as the following:
          Where quoted passages appear in both quotations and italics, unless the italics are required to show emphasis or distinction. (See §10.f.)
          Where pronunciations are written in both parentheses and italics.
          In the writing of all stage directions, settings, etc., in plays. (When stage directions are given along with the speaking lines of a play, but are not enclosed in parentheses or brackets, the italics should be retained to differentiate between speech and stage directions.)
          Where a letter which means a letter is written in braille preceded by the letter sign. (See §12.a.(2).)
          Where lists of words are printed in boldface type or italics.
          Where word endings are separated from the root words and are printed in italics or boldface type.
          Where titles, chapters, sections or other centered headings are printed entirely in italics or boldface type.
          1. a.Termination Sign: ,' In general literature, the hyphen should be used to set apart the italicized or capitalized portion of a word. When in print a hyphen follows an italicized or capitalized portion of a word, the termination sign must be inserted before the hyphen. List this sign on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9. and Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.) Ex:
            extradite extrad-.i-te
            extradite extra-.dite
            unSELFish un-,,self-i%
            they're .!y-'re
            BASEball ,,base-ball
            fundamental fun-.da-m5tal
            white-collar .:ite,'-coll>
            DO-ing ,,do,'-+
            b. Transcribers note symbol (opening and closing): Braille the transcribers note symbol immediately before the first symbol and immediately following the last symbol of all text inserted by the transcriber regardless of the length of the text or the number of paragraphs it contains. (For information on the placement and format of transcribers notes, see Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription, Rule 1.7.)
            These symbols appear in the following paragraph:
            1.   Letter Sign:  ;  The letter sign is placed before a letter or letters to distinguish between the letter meaning and a number, a word, a whole-word contraction or a short-form word.
                a. The letter sign is required when:
                  (1) Any letter, or group of letters, immediately follows a number or is joined to it by a hyphen. Ex:
                  4-H Club #d-;,h ,club
                  22B #bb;,b 2-cab #b-;cab
                  Ex. 2-t and 3-R ,ex4 #b-;t & #c-;,r
                  3ème (troisième) #c;@eme 7-og #g-;og
                  (2) The letter sign is required when a letter which means a letter stands alone and is not followed by a period indicating an abbreviation. A letter which means a letter should be preceded only by a letter sign, and all italics, parentheses or quotation marks should be omitted, even though they are used in print. (However, see §12.b.(5).) Ex:
                  A, e, i, o, and u are vowels. ;,a1 ;e1 ;i1
                  ;o1 & ;u >e v[els4
                  the letters "a" to "j" ! lrs ;a 6;j
                  D Day ;,d ,"d Mrs. X ,mrs4 ;,x
                  (3) The letter sign is required when a combination of letters standing alone could be confused with a short-form word, or when a word composed of a single letter in an anglicized phrase could be confused with a whole-word contraction. Ex:
                  Honi soit qui mal y pense.
                  ,honi soit qui mal ;y
                  Ab, The Caveman ;,ab1 ,! ,caveman
                  Point C is on the line AB.
                  ,po9t ;,c is on ! l9e

                  Al paid Ab. (name at beginning of sentence)
                  ;,al pd ,ab4
                  (4) The letter sign is required when a single letter which means a letter is followed by an apostrophe "s", or is joined by a hyphen to a word or number which follows it. Each letter should be preceded by a letter sign when letters of the alphabet are joined by a hyphen or a dash. Ex:
                  b-1 ;b-#a t-square ;t-squ>e
                  the letters a-j ! lrs ;a-;j
                  Mind your p's and q's.
                  ,m9d yr ;p's & ;q's4
                  He received 3 C's. ,he rcvd #c ;,c's4
                b. The letter sign is not required before a single capitalized or uncapitalized letter when:
                  (1) The letter is an initial or an abbreviation followed by a period or an oblique stroke. Ex:
                  Dr. J. F. Pilgrim, M.D. ,dr4 ,j4 ,f4
                  ,pilgrim1 ,m4,d4
                  c/o c/o s/he s/he
                  (2) The letter sign is not required when the letter is followed by the number sign. Ex:
                  Print pages a23-c51
                  ,pr9t pages a#bc-c#ea
                  The letter sign is not required when a number is followed by a contraction. (See also §29.) Ex:
                  1st to 4th #a/ 6#d?
                  (4) The letter sign is not required when the letter is preceded and/or followed by the apostrophe, indicating omission of letters. Ex:
                  Did 'e 'n' Ma get t' it?
                  ,did 'e 'n' ,ma get t' x8
                  (5) The letter sign is not required when the letter in, or referring to, an outline or listing is followed by, or enclosed within, punctuation marks. Ex:
                  See section (f).
                  a) Passenger: J. F. Mack
                  b) Arrival: May 1st, 5 p.m.
                  c) Reservation: Serial #5699
                  d) Dining Room: Table A1
                  ,see sec;n 7f74
                  a7 ,pass5g]3 ,j4 ,f4
                  b7 ,>rival3 ,may #a/1
                  #e p4m4
                  c7 ,res]v,n3 ,s]ial
                  d7 ,d9+ ,room3 ,ta#
              1. Stammering, Speech Hesitation, Spelling, Lisped Words, Syllabified Words:
                a. Stammeredwords should not be preceded by the letter sign, nor should they be divided at the end of a line except after unstammered syllables. Whole-word signs should not be used, and the letter(s) or contraction preceding and following the hyphen in stammered words should be identical. If the stammered letter or sound appears in the middle of the word, or if more than one letter or sound is stammered within the same word, precede by a hyphen each set of stammered letters or sounds which do not begin a word. Ex: 
                w-will w-will g-go g-go
                s-s-stu- s-s-stu-
                pidity pid;y
                de-ce-ce-cease de-ce-ce-cease
                de- de-
                ce-ce-cease ce-ce-cease
                s-s-super- s-s-sup]-
                stition /i;n
                s-s-s-super- s-s-s-sup]-
                st-st-stition /-/-/i;n
                th-these ?-?ese g-ghost g-gho/
                th-this ?-?is wh-where :-:]e
                b.  When single letters are spaced by hyphens, as in representing spelling, speech hesitation, or vocal sounds without word meanings, the letter sign is not required. The capital sign is required before each upper case letter. Ex:
                we-e-ek (speech hesitation) we-e-ek
                c-h-e-e-s-e (spelling) c-h-e-e-s-e
                S-T-O-P (spelling) ,s-,t-,o-,p
                br-r-r (vocal sound) br-r-r
                T-H-G (Tin-Hat-General) (abbreviated spelling)
                V-J Day (abbreviated spelling) ,v-,j ,"d
                c. In transcribinglisped words, the "th" contraction should be used. Ex:
                thecond thentury (second century) ?econd ?5tury
                  d. When representing syllabified words, only the following contractions may be used: the one-cell part-word contractions, including "en" and "in", but excluding all other lower-sign contractions; all one-syllable two-cell initial-letter contractions; and all one-syllable short-form words. Ex:
                  in-form-er 9-=m-] en-a-ble 5-a-#
                  some-one "s-"o quick-ened qk-5$
                  will-ing-ness will-+-ness
                  here-to-fore "h-to-=e
                  was-n't was-n't child-ish *ild-i%