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. Verse Format: Each poetic line should begin in the first space of a new line of braille. If a poetic line is too long for one braille line, the carry-over should begin in the third space of the next line. A blank line should be left before and after each stanza.

      In the writing of poetry, if only the title and the first line of the poem (with its carry-over) would appear at the bottom of the braille page, the poem should begin on the next braille page.
          If it is necessary to divide a stanza between two pages, the division should be made so that at least one poetic line (with its carry-over) appears at the top or bottom of the braille page, providing it is not the first stanza of the poem. (For special poetry format, see App. A. 2.)

    2. Prose Format:>

      (1) Line Sign: / : Ô > Use the line sign to represent the print mark which indicates the end of a poetic line, line of inscription, etc. When such are written in print in prose form, leave one blank cell preceding and following the line sign. The line sign may begin or end a braille line. List this sign on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

      ... finest lyric, To Althea from Prison (_Stone Walls doe not a prison make/Nor iron bars a Cage_), was written while he was paying the penalty for ...

      ''' f9e/ lyric1 ..,6,al-
      !a f .,prison 7,8,/"o
      ,walls doe n a prison
      make > ,nor iron b>s a
      ,cage0'71 0 writt5 :ile
      he 0 pay+ ! p5alty = '''

      16 They have mouths, and
      speak not : eyes have they,
      but they see not.
      17 They have ears, and yet
      they hear not : neither is
      there any breath in their
      #af ,!y h m\?s1 & sp1k
      n > eyes h !y1 b !y see
      #ag ,!y h e>s1 & yet
      !y he> n > nei is "! any
      br1? 9 _! m\?s4

      (2)  When an agency or braille publisher requires poetry, inscriptions, etc., to be transcribed in braille using prose form, insert the line sign to indicate the end of each complete line or print line of poetry, inscription, etc. Indicate the change of print format in a Transcriber's Note. After the completion of the poetry, etc., begin the following text on a new braille line.

    3. Numbered Lines:   For numbered lines, see Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.

  • Scansion and Stress: (See Code of Braille Textbook Formats and Techniques, most recent edition.)

    Short or unstressed syllable sign ^     Long or stressed syllable sign _

    1.    These signs should be placed before the vowels of the syllables affected. Contractions should not be used in scansion where both stressed and unstressed syllables are shown. List these signs on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

      Th_ c_rfw t_lls
      ,th^e c_urf^ew t_olls

      th^e kn_ell ^of

      prtĪng dy.
      p_art^ing d_ay4

    2. End of foot sign Ô -

      Caesura sign _ --

      These signs should be preceded and followed by a space. Where a foot sign occurs within a word, the hyphen, followed by a space, is used after the syllable ending the foot. Contractions may be used in scansion where stressed or unstressed syllables are not shown. List these signs on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

      Still stands the Ô forest pri- Ô
      ,/ /&s ! - =e/ pri- -

      meval, _ the Ô murmuring
      meval1 -- ! - murmur+

      Ô pines and the Ô hemlocks.
      - p9es &! - hemlocks4

    3. Where detailed scansion is not required, the accent sign @ is used to indicate stressed syllables. Contractions may be used except where the stressed vowel is part of a contraction. List this sign on the special symbols page. (See App. A. 9.) Ex:

      St_ll stands the f_rest
      ,/@ill /&s ! f@ore/

      prim_val, the m_rmuring
      prim@eval1 ! m@urmur+

      p_nes and the h_mlocks.
      p@ines &! h@emlocks4