Re: Unicode Public Review Issues update (braille)

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Tue Oct 07 2003 - 12:33:56 CST

Kent Karlsson wrote:

>>The original model for these was that your text processing is done in
>>non-Braille, and on the last leg to a device, you would transcode the
>>regular text to a Braille sequence using a domain and
>>language specific
>>mapping. Having the codes in Unicode allows you to preserve
>>'final form'
>>and transmit that as needed w/o having to also transmit the
>>mapping(s) that were used to generate the Braille version of
>>the text.
>>(This assumes that the eventual human reader can do 'autodetection'.)
>This does not apply to text that have been manually written in or
>translated to Braille (for a particular language). As I have understood
>it, writers/transcribers often use(d) peculiar writings, e.g.
>that would not occur in "normal" text, the "abbreviations" varied from
>"scribe" to "scribe". I'm not familiar with the details though.
>Braille can be used also for math and music notation.
I'm not sure about variation among users. I know that Braille as used
for English (at least in America) has a standard set of short forms (I
studied Grade II Braille, as it is called, a bit), including symbols for
common letter-combinations, one-letter abbreviations for common words,
and sort of "escape symbol"+letter abbreviations for common word-endings
and suffixes.

>B.t.w. Braille often uses "state shifts", e.g. for digits. There is a
>Braille code, followed by one or more codes for the letters a-j (if the
>script is Latin) which then stand for 1, ..., 9, 0 (the list is
>terminated with
>any non-a-j code; but decoding the Braille for e.g. 12a is ambiguous,
Not so. There is, indeed, a Braille symbol for "numbers" which, when
followed by one or more letters a-j, makes the following string digits
instead of letters. There is also, however, a corresponding "letter
sign" that can be used to cancel out the effect of the number-shift, or
to disambiguate in the case of an isolated symbol that might be
confusing otherwise. Both of these, I believe (and can look up) are
also used as "escape characters" in making suffix short-forms, and are
unambiguous because as letter/number shifts they appear at the beginning
of a string, and not in the middle as they would for suffix short-forms
(which begs the question of how to encode "a12". I presume that
"<lettersign>a<numbersign>ab" would work for the same reason that
"<numbersign>ab<lettersign>a" works for "12a").


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