Braille is a fascinating family of constructed languages relatively new in the history of humanity. This page contains my notes and tips on learning Unified English Braille as a sighted adult. If I ever get a refreshable Braille display I'll make sure to learn Braille Computer Notation.
Resources[edit | edit source]
- The Rules of Unified English Braille (Second Edition 2013)
- Unified English Braille Australian Training Manual (2016)
Learning methods[edit | edit source]
My process so far has been this:
- Read Braille for the Sighted
- Memorize the braille symbols and dot numbers using flash cards
- Read DK Braille It Can't Be True! (don't try to read the slippery book cover)
The advantage of sight and being literate has made this process fairly easy so far.
This is slowly getting me to the point I can read uncontracted braille.
I don't have a method yet for learning contracted braille.
Reading[edit | edit source]
Reading braille by touch is done by:
- Very very gently touching the reading surface
- Making sure you can feel an entire column of dots at once
- Moving your finger across the symbols at a steady speed
- Recognizing the imprint pattern the dots make on your finger
Reading braille by sight is done by looking at the symbols.
It's a bit confusing at first because you don't feel the dot pattern but the inverse of it, the empty space, as the pattern.
Writing[edit | edit source]
I've been doing writing with a braille slate so far. You can buy these cheap from eBay.
Make sure to press hard to get good dot patterns.
Flash cards[edit | edit source]
Here's how to make some flash cards using paper and a slate:
- Put the paper in the slate
- Write a symbol then leave three spaces to its left
- Continue until the row is full
- Move down two rows to leave a gap row
- Repeat the process
- Take the paper out of the slate
- Cut up the grid of symbols in to strips with just a symbol and its three spaces to the left
- Pick a symbol and fold its left side up towards you
- Turn it over and write the symbol and its dot numbers
- Repeat for all the other symbols
- Put them in a pile
Now when it's time to use them:
- Close your eyes
- Grab a random symbol strip
- Orient yourself using the left fold
- Run your finger over the symbol and identify it and its dots
- Open your eyes
- Flip the paper over and check if you were correct
- Set it aside if you were correct or put it back in the pile if you were incorrect
- Repeat until you have nothing left in the pile