Contracted (grade 2) braille explained
If you enjoy braille and would like to go further, you can learn the complete braille code which is known as contracted braille. It was previously known as Grade 2 braille.
Contracted braille is used by more experienced braille users. It uses the same letters, punctuation and numbers as uncontracted (grade 1) braille, but also uses a contracted system or shorthand where groups of letters may be combined into a single braille cell. There are single symbols to represent common words eg. and, the, for. There are also symbols to represent common letter combinations such as ing, er and sh. This means it's quicker to read and write than uncontracted braille, and also takes up less space.
Almost all books and magazines are printed in contracted braille. If you want to do a lot of reading and writing then it would be a good idea to learn contracted braille. Everyone who has learned braille will know uncontracted braille, so you won't need to learn contracted braille to communicate with other braille readers.
Who learns and uses contracted braille?
Contracted braille takes longer to learn than uncontracted braille. Many people who learn uncontracted braille go onto learn contracted braille, so they can read all of the material available in braille.
Books, magazines and other information tends to be produced in contracted braille, to cut down on size. Contracted braille produces much less bulky books and magazines!
Both versions of braille are produced in most countries. Over recent years there has been increased production of uncontracted braille in several European countries. This is to increase readership and encourage more blind and partially sighted people to learn it.
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