Braille for Latin and Greek

Samuel Barnes took three years of Latin in high school, and a semester of classical Greek in college. However he is now faced with vision loss and is having a hard time reading print, so he decided to devise his own method of writing Latin and Greek with Braille.

At first it was just a code for classical Latin, but he then rememberd the fact that both Latin and ancient Greek are so closely connected historically, and that they share much phonology, so he decided to make a unified code to represent both languages; that way a student of one could easily begin studying the other.

Braille for Latin and Greek

Braille for Latin and Greek

Notes

  • Ideally, for both Latin and Greek, all long vowels should be indicated, as the difference between long and short vowels often changes the meaning of a word, like Latin puella = girl (nominative case), and puellā = by the girl (ablative case).
  • For both Latin and Greek, all diphthongs should be presented in contracted form.
  • The Latin Letter Q, although always accompanied by a U in print, is written alone in braille both to save space and to moare accurately indicate that the sound represented by the print QU was a labialized velar, not a velar followed by a labiovelar approximate. For example quinque is rendered qinqe in Braille.
  • In Latin print the letter combinations PH, TH, and CH were used to represent the Greek letters phi, theta, and chi respectively. In Latin braille, these combinations are always written using their single cell forms, rather than writing them seperately. For example, the Latin word thermae (baths) is borrowed from Greek, but, instead of writing the T and the H seperately in braille, the Greek Theta symbol is used to save space and to further allude to the word's Greek etymology.
  • On a somewhat similar note, the Greek letter psi, which itself does not occur in printed Latin texts (although see the Claudian Letters), is used in Latin for all occurences of the sound /ps/ in order to save space. Thus, for example, the Latin word capsa = box or container, is written using a psi.
  • Although the Greek rough breathing is traditionally indicated with a diacritic in print, in Braille it is indicated by the Latin letter H, and thus may be considered a seperate letter in Greek braille. The soft breathing is ignored alltogether, as it was always rather redundant even in printed Greek. Note also that, since the breathy rho that is written with a dasia above it only occures at the beginning of a word and in the second place of a geminated rho, it is not indicated in Greek Braille in order to save space.
  • Note that not all of the Braille symbols have both a Latin and a Greek meaning. (This may change in time).
  • Similarly, the Latin letters Q and V corrispond in braille to the obsolete Greek letters qoppa and Digamma respectively. This is done primarily for phonetic reasons, as in very ancient times, those letters were used in Greek to represent a QU and a W sound. These letter ultimately gave rise to the Latin Q and F respectively. However, Samuel chose to equate the Latin Letter V to Digamma because they are more phonetically linked, as both V and digamma were used to write a [w] sound.
  • In Latin, the consonants J and V are ALWAYS written distincly from the vowels I and U. This is done for clarity. For example, one would write janua (door) instead of ianua, and sum instead of svm.
  • Punctuation is indicated as in other braille systems, although capitalization is in general not recognized, as it was not in ancient times. However, Samuel may provide a capital sign in the future.

Sample texts

Latin

Sample text in Latin in Braille

Greek

Sample text in Greek in Braille

Versions of Braille

Braille for Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese)
Braille for English
Braille for Latin & Greek
Braille for Welsh

Other notation systems

Blissymbolics, Braille, Graffiti, Moon, Shorthand, Solresol, Sutton SignWriting