Monday, October 03, 2011

Marked Cards

I stopped by to pick up a blind friend the other day and while waiting for her to get ready I noticed a deck of cards.  Ah, I thought to myself, a real deck of marked cards.  At first, though, I didn't see (as a sighted person, I was looking, not feeling) the braille.  But then I did.

I didn't pull out enough cards to figure out the numbers, but you should be able to do 6 and 7.  And you should also be able to figure out the Braille for the four suits.

 Just to help out I found this list of Braille letters and numbers at the Federation for the Blind website.

I called up my friend Lynne to ask some more questions about braille and how you differentiate between letters and numbers.   It gets complicated.  For numbers there's the number symbol that goes before so you know they are numbers, but . . . there are exceptions.  On the cards, for example, they don't use the # symbol because they know there are numbers, not letters.  Except the Ace - but A is the same as 1 anyway.  See, it gets complicated.   I decided to save some for another post when I can video tape Lynne using her various tools for reading from the computer, for taking notes in braille, etc.  Maybe I'll start to understand.

I also had other questions - like given modern technology and the emergence of software that can read text out loud, is braille still needed? (Short answer, Yes!!!)  As you can imagine, being blind in a world designed for sighted people has its complications.  And frustrations.  People see your blindness and make all sorts of assumptions about what you can't do and don't recognize what you can do.  When your eyes don't work, you know you are blind.  But when your eyes work, you don't realize that you can still be blind to so many things around you.  You can get inside Lynne's head on her blog, Koraling Genius.


  1. Isn't it a problem that there are some pairs? For example b-2 or i-9 have the same codes.

  2. Ropi, I noticed that problem too, but I'm afraid I didn't write clearly enough. That was why I called my blind friend (below the braille alphabet) to see how she differentiates between the numbers and beginning of the alphabet which are the same. They use a symbol for # before the numbers, but there are exceptions like on the cards where they know it will be a number.


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