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


        1. Anglicized Words and Names:  Words and names which appear in the same typeface as the surrounding English text are considered as anglicized words in braille, and all applicable contractions should be used. Ex:

          To Signorina Ferra's surprise, El Ranchito's menu included blintzes and quiche.
          ,6,signor9a ,f]ra's sur- prise1 ,el ,ran*ito's
          m5u 9clud$ bl9tzes &

          Le Baron de Rochefoucauld
          ,le ,b>on de ,ro*e-

          "Herr Professor Strauss, meet mon ami Jones."
          8,h]r ,professor
          ,/rauss1 meet mon ami

          Le Comte de Paris ,le ,-te de ,p>is

          We heard the operas "Die Meistersinger" and "The Pearl Fishers."
          ,we he>d ! op]as 8,die
          ,mei/]s+]0 & 8,! ,pe>l

          The letter sign must be used before any letter or group of letters which can be confused with an alphabetic contraction or short-form word. Ex:

          Sr. y Sra. Juarez
          ,sr4 ;y ,sra4 ,ju>ez

            (1)    Contractions should be used in conformity with the rules of English Braille, except that one-cell part-word contractions should not overlap a syllable division in an anglicized word which is spelled the same as an English word that has a different pronunciation; however, two-cell final-letter contractions may be so used. Ex:

          al fine ;al fine

          pension (Eng. pension, Fr. boarding house) p5.n

            (2)   In anglicizedproper names, words or phrases, words which correspond to English alphabet or other one-cell whole-word contractions or short-form words should be written in uncontracted braille. Similarly, the use of initial-letter two-cell contractions should be avoided where pronunciation does not conform to the pronunciation generally assigned them in English.

          Chou En-lai ,*\ ,en-lai

          Port Said ,port ,said

          centime c5time

          Ed Do ,$ ,do

          Michael To plays cello.

          ,mi*ael ,to plays cello4

        2. Foreign Words and Names: Foreign words and names which appear in a typeface different from the surrounding English text should be written in uncontracted braille. One-letter words do not require a letter sign. Ex:

          While attending university at Heidelberg Jeanne read Bonheur d'occasion and Im Westen Nichts Neues.

          ,:ile att5d+ univ]s;y at

          ,heidelb]g ,j1nne r1d

          .,bonheur .d'occasion &

          ..,im ,westen ,nichts


          "He shouted, "Come stai, Andrew?"
          ,he %\t$1 8.,come .stai1

          "Herr Professor Strauss, voici mon ami Jones."
          8..,herr ,professor
          ,strauss1 voici mon ami

          Honi soit qui mal y pense
          ..,honi soit qui mal y

        3. Accent Sign: @  This sign is used in English texts before all letters which in print are marked with an accent or other marking, even in italicized or quoted foreign passages, and the special foreign accented letter symbols should not be used.
          Accented letters in foreign or anglicized words must not form part of a contraction. In English stressed syllables, however, a contraction may follow the accent sign. List this sign on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

          cafcafˇ gnral g@en@eral

          seor se@nor garon g>@con

          Catherine de Mdicis
          ,ca!r9e de ,m@edicis

          blessd b.s@$ renforce re@5=ce

        4. Foreign Material in English Context:  When foreign words, phrases, or passages occur in English text, English punctuation and composition signs should be used. However, in the writing of Spanish words, phrases, or passages, the special Spanish punctuation signs must be used in accordance with print copy. (See App. B. 3.(b).)

        5. Non-Latin Letters:  Greek and other non-Latin letters occurring in English context should be preceded by dot 2. 1 Neither the letter sign nor the italic sign should be used. List this sign on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) (For a combination of non-Latin and Latin letters see also Rule VIII §31.c.) Ex:

          p (pi) 1p     FBK (Phi Beta Kappa) 1,,fbk

          S (Sigma) 1,s

        1. The Diphthongs and Diaereses "æ" and "_" should be written as separate letters except in foreign language texts, where special symbols are used. (See App. B.) The letters comprising parts of these diphthongs and diaereses, even if not printed as such, should not form a part of a contraction. Ex:

          encyclopaedia 5cyclopaedia

          Ph_nix ,phoenix     maenad maenad

          diæresis diaeresis     Goering ,goer+

          aerial aerial

        2. Foreign Language Passages and Texts: All foreign words should be written in uncontracted braille. When an entire text is in a foreign language, the special accented letters should be used. In the embossing of all foreign language grammars and books, a complete list of the special symbols for the language should be presented on the special symbols page in the front of each volume. (See App. B. and Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.)

          1. In foreign language grammars employing both English and foreign language passages, the special foreign accented letters should be used only in the foreign language portion. In such instances, the English braille punctuation and composition signs should be used, except where the language requires special forms. (See Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.)

          2. Non-Latin Words: In passages of more than three words of Greek or other languages not using the Latin alphabet, occurring in English context, a double letter sign should be used before the first word and a single letter sign before the last word. In passages of three or fewer words, each word should be preceded by the letter sign. If the passage is written in italics in print, the italics should be omitted. List this use of the letter sign(s) on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

            O_k _Aqhna_oV o_d_ _'Ellhn _ll_ k_sm_oV.
            ;;,o)k 0,a?:na%os o)d'
            h,$ll:n (ll( ;k[smios4

          3. Passages or books written in Old or Middle English should be considered as foreign and should be written in uncontracted braille. (See Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.)