Uncontracted (Grade 1) Braille
The braille on this website thus far is uncontracted braille, also called grade 1 braille. It is a letter for letter substitution of print to braille and is the foundation of the braille code. It is typically used by those new to braille.
Contracted (Grade 2) Braille
Contracted braille, also called grade 2 braille, uses contractions. Contractions are short ways of writing braille that make reading and writing braille faster, and the braille takes less space.
Braille takes more space than print. The children's book Charlotte's Web requires two big volumes of contracted braille.
Contracted braille is a faithful representation of the print. There are special braille characters that stand for complete words or for groups of letters within words. Below is a chart of letters that stand for complete words. They are often called alphabet contractions.
Every word in this sentence is a contraction except “if” and “try.” Can you read it with help from the chart above?
There are many more contractions. In addition, braille signs for $ % # @ *, weights and measures, monetary systems, mathematical, scientific, and computer notation, and many other special symbols make it possible to put into braille virtually anything written in print.
You may view a contraction chart at Duxbury Systems and print a copy if you wish.