Today is World Braille Day, commemorating the work of the hero and inventor of braille, Louis Braille. Louis was born exactly 217 years ago, and he became blind in childhood due to an unfortunate accident, but as an innovative, passionate learner he developed a tactile system of reading for the visually impaired, with the usage of raised dots.
Usually braille is written in two columns of three dots, with the raised dots spelling out the letter or word. It’s super-interesting how braille is formed – just memorise the first ten dot formations (a-j, the same as 1-10), and the next ‘decade’ (k-t) include just one extra dot in the left hand corner. Of course it’s not all that simple, because Louis left his W out of the ‘original’ alphabet since Frenchies don’t use double-yous.
There have been and are numerous different forms of braille during the past two centuries, but generally the Braille alphabet is still in many ways the same as Louis created two hundred years ago. Nowadays English braille encompasses a number of frequently used words such as ‘but’, ‘and’ and ‘mother’. Interestingly, these words are used in forming other words, too, for example the word ‘hand’ is written ‘h’ + ‘and’.
Braille is less common nowadays, with younger people favouring screen reader software instead, but there is ongoing conversation on how to make Braille more attractive to the younger generations. Braille teachers are also needed.
I celebrated World Braille day by studying the alphabet and learning to write my own name in braille. The dots are blackened and also punctured with a pencil, meaning it can be read by touch, too. How cool is that!
Happy World Braille Day!
P.S. Advancements from yesterday:
- I found Helsinki traffic customer service and they found my travel card. <3
- I learnt that the glass cup I drank my straw-flavoured water from now became rust-flavoured water. Throw out.