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Louis Braille was born on 4th January, 1809, at Coupvray, near Paris. At three years of age an accident deprived him of his sight, and in 1819 he was sent to the Paris Blind School. Young LouisBraille desperately wanted to read. He realized the vast world of thought and ideas that was locked out to him because of his disability. And he was determined to find the key to this door for himself, andfor all other blind persons.

Each braille character or "cell" is made up of 6 dot positions, arranged in a rectangle comprising 2 columns of 3 dots each. A dot may be raised at any of the 6positions, or any combination. Counting the space, in which no dots are raised, there are 64 such combinations (that is, 2 to the 6th power). For reference purposes, a particular combination may bedescribed by naming the positions where dots are raised, the positions being universally numbered 1 through 3 from top to bottom on the left, and 4 through 6 from top to bottom on the right. For example, dots1-3-4 would describe a cell with three dots raised, at the top and bottom in the left column and on top of the right column. In the original French, and also in English and all other languageswritten in the Roman alphabet, that pattern would most often be used for the letter "m", but it can also have other meanings depending on language, braille code and context.
The basis of the variousbraille codes for the world's natural languages is a straightforward assignment of most of the dot patterns to letters of the alphabet, punctuation marks and other symbols. This is done with a certainconsistency, quite often with reference to Louis Braille's original assignments, to the extent possible given the great variety of alphabets, accent marks, vocalization marks, etc. that are in use. Forexample, the "m" mentioned above would be used for mu in Greek, and mim in Arabic, both of which have an "m" sound. (Note that it is not considered important for a braille character to resemble the...
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