RE: Braille vs Bidi

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Wed May 30 2001 - 09:59:04 EDT

On Wed, 30 May 2001, Marco Cimarosti wrote:

> Kenneth Whistler wrote:
> > I doubt it. But if Marco is correct that Hebrew braille is
> > left-to-right, there could conceivably be some exemplary
> > printed materials in Hebrew, with braille examples, [...]
> There is a very nice book about how braille is used in each language.
> Unluckily I can't remember any reference off-hand (I think it was edited by
> UNESCO), but it was mentioned time ago also on this list.

There are at least two: the 1953 edition of _World Braille Usage_ by
Sir Clutha Mackenzie published by UNESCO, and the 1990 edition of the same
title (but not by him), published by UNESCO and the US Library of Congress
(or a dept of it--I don't have the book in front of me to give full bib

They're both worth looking at for comparative purposes at the changes over
about four decades. There are some mistakes and omissions, though, which
can be partially detected if one is familiar with the language's sound
system, syllable structure, or writing system, e.g., handling of
Vietnamese tones is omitted in the 1990 edition--but the bibliography
contained within allows one to track down the original sources. The 1953
edition also contains interesting background on their goals and history of
braille, including multiple incompatible 6-dot systems for English and
German at one point in the past (of course, those readers couldn't simply
convert their books into a readable format), and trying to create unified
standards. Neither book really contains extended writing samples to show
directionality, though.

Thomas Chan

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