Re: REPLY: Foriegn lang. credit for braille / FW: Braille...

From: James E. Agenbroad (
Date: Thu Sep 23 1999 - 13:49:15 EDT

On Thu, 23 Sep 1999, Scott Horne wrote:

> > 1. Being basically a 6-bit system, Braille has 64 codes to which meanings
> > can be assigned.
> Sixty-three, rather. The blank cell is not used, for obvious reasons.

JEA: Probably because Chinese is often written without spaces the 1990
     "World Braille Survey" says the blank cell is used in Hong Kong for
     Cantonese to represnt a tone. Now that Hong Kong is part of
     China things may have changed. I do not know if other languages
     written without spaces also use the blank cell--a quick check
     suggests that Thai does not use the blank cell. Braille manuals
     probably do not do so but one could say that the blank cell is
     generally used to represent the space between words. (I wonder if
     for brevity Braille omits the blank cell after periods, question and
     exclamation marks?)
> > It would work less well with any language whose writing ...

JEA: By "work less well" I meant just that transcription and conversion
     would be more complicated, not that they would be impossible. I
     believe Braille solves such complications in creative ways and with
     various "levels", contractions etc. sometimes approaching shorthand
     in brevity.

> Scott Horne
     I now leave Braille for others.
          Jim Agenbroad ( )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
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