CHINESE BRAILLE.

It had never occurred to me to wonder how Braille worked in Chinese, but now I know:

Chinese braille is based on a phonetic representation of the sounds of the language. There are no braille signs for individual Chinese inkprint characters, only for sounds…. As with all other braille codes, Chinese braille is read from left to right – whatever the direction of any inkprint original.
As a rule, in the inkprint one syllable is represented by one character. The same syllable in braille is written with one, two or three signs. There are three categories of these braille signs.
* initials: the consonants that are only found at the beginning of a syllable.
* finals: vowels (n, ng and r at the end of a syllable are not really consonants)
* tones: signs that indicate the tone of the word

There are tables of signs and a couple of examples with characters for comparison. (Via Brainysmurf.)

Comments

  1. Just for grins, here’s the braille system for Japanese:
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~JX1T-UED/ten_50on.html

  2. Thanks! Here‘s the direct link.

  3. In a related vein, here’s an article about a school for the deaf in Taiwan.

  4. Chris McMillan says:

    Idly doing a web search on Chinese braille to see if there were any articles I haven’t seen, I came across your question.
    Chinese braille comes in Mandarin and Cantonese. I haven’t found any other of the main languages so far, and my enquiries of blind people in China haven’t elicited anything: mainly I think because of our limitations in English at the time.
    The Hadley School for the Blind has a page on Cantonese braille with all its symbols. http://www.hadley-school.org/Web_Site/ 8_d_chinese_braille_alphabet.asp
    http://www.braille.ch/pschin-e.htm
    Bear with this one, and scroll past the german to get at the english. Its written by someone named Vivian Aldridge.
    My particular interest in the subject is that I am visually impaired myself, and for the past 6 or 7 years I’ve been collecting UK and US braille magazines and posting them to visually impaired people in North China as part of a very small UK organisation named China Vision.
    Sincerely, Mrs. Chris McMillan

  5. Chris McMillan says:

    Can’t get much more up-to-date than this probably. Now many more Chinese people will be able to read via the computer, although I suspect most will continue to use speech output. I don’t know how many of the registered blind use braille – but going on the UK and US: not as many as might.
    The English is a bit vague – but then I suspect it would be if it were written for us: its a very complex subject to explain in a set number of words.
    Sincerely Chris
    Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, August 04, 2003
    Computer System for the Blind Makes Debut in China
    Developed by departments under Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), Chinese Braille Computer System has successfully gone through the verification, by which the blind can fully enjoy the convenience of computer.
    PRINT DISCUSSION CHINESE SEND TO FRIEND
    Developed by departments under Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), Chinese Braille Computer System has successfully gone through the verification, by which the blind can fully enjoy the convenience of computer.
    Such system adopts a special kind of keyboard technology, by which the blind can get phonetic explanation and relating words while putting in Braille publication, Chinese or ASCII. This system provides several automatic transforms translating Chinese to several Braille codings and makes the blind “read” Chinese articles directly.
    This system realizes the goal of acquiring and reading the information on the full screen. It can also automatically distinguish simplified Chinese characters from the traditional Chinese characters, and Chinese from English, making the user able to “read” all kinds of information on the screen.
    Meanwhile, the system can put out the information acquired from the screen into special equipment and provide the user with the intellectualized phonetic navigation. The blind can use the computer freely and independently like a normal person under the direct “guide” from the computer.
    By PD Online Staff Liu Wei
    Sincerely Chris

  6. Thanks, Chris and Mrs. Chris!

Speak Your Mind

*