Bharati braille /ˈbɑrətiː/ BAR-ə-tee, or Bhartiya Braille (Hindi: भारती ब्रेल bhāratī brēl IPA: [bʱaːɾət̪iː bɾɛːlə] "Indian braille"), is a largely unified braille script for writing the languages of India. When India gained independence, eleven braille scripts were in use, in different parts of the country and for different languages. By 1951 a single national standard had been settled on, Bharati braille, which has since been adopted by Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Bharati braille alphabets use a 6-dot cell with values based largely on English Braille. Letters are assigned as consistently as possible across the various regional scripts of India as they are transliterated in the Latin script, so that, for example, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and English are rendered largely the same in braille.
Although basically alphabetic, Bharati braille retains one aspect of Indian abugidas, in that the default vowel a is not written unless it occurs at the beginning of a word. This has been called a "linearized alphasyllabary [abugida]". For example, ⠅ K = क ka, and ⠹ TH = थ tha. To indicate that a consonant occurs alone (as when followed by another consonant, or at the end of a syllable), a virama prefix is used: ⠈⠅ virama-K = क k, and ⠈⠹ virama-TH = थ th. However, there are no vowel diacritics; vowels are written as full letters following the consonant in the order they are pronounced. For example, in Devanagari the vowel i is prefixed to a consonant in a reduced diacritic form, but in Bharati braille it follows in its full form: ⠅⠊ K-I = कि ki, equivalent to writing ⟨कइ⟩ for ki in Devanagari. Thus क्लिक klika is written ⠈⠅⠇⠊⠅ virama-K-L-I-K. The one exception to not writing short a after a consonant is when it is followed by another vowel. The a must then be written to indicate that the next vowel does not follow the consonant immediately. Thus an actual ⟨कइ⟩ kai is rendered ⠅⠁⠊ K-A-I.
Apart from kṣ and jñ, which have special forms in Hindi and Gujarati, Bharati braille does not handle conjuncts. Conjuncts in print are rendered with the virama in braille. Bharati braille is thus equivalent to Grade-1 English braille, though there are plans to extend it to conjuncts in all languages which use it.
Following are the charts of the braille correspondences of the main Indian scripts, as of 1990. Irregularities, where a letter does not match the romanized heading, are placed in parentheses.
- In Devanagari, halanta is not used with the last letter when a word ends in a consonant.
Some of the punctuation marks (comma, close quote) duplicate letters. The caps mark is only used when transcribing English.
The full stop, ⠲, transcribes the danda ।. The double danda ( ॥ ) is rendered as two full stops, ⠲⠲.
The 'accent', ⠈, transcribes Urdu ّ shaddah (tashdeed), and the colon, ⠒, is also used for Urdu ة ta marbuta.
Pointing and Urdu 
The pointing symbol, ⠐, is used for consonant letters derived by adding a dot to another consonant. For Urdu, the base letter in Devanagari is used: the pointing of the Arabic/Persian script is not reflected. For example, Gurmukhi ਗ਼ / Urdu غ / Devanagari ग़ ġa (ɣ), formed by adding a dot to g in Gurmukhi and Devanagari, is written ⠐⠛ point-G in all three.
The other point digraphs (in Urdu) are:
- ⠐⠹ point-TH for ث θ (Dev. थ़)
- ⠐⠮ point-DH for ذ ð
- ⠐⠴ point-JH for ژ ž (Dev. झ़)
- ⠐⠫ point-Ḍ for ض ḏ
- ⠐⠾ point-Ṭ for ط ṯ
- ⠐⠿ point-ḌH for ظ ẕ (ð̠).
This is only done in India.
- ^ With a few inconsistencies in non-native sounds in Sinhala
- ^ "Braille Chapter VI". Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- ^ Richard Sproat, Language, Technology, and Society
- ^ a b "World Braille Usage". UNESCO. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
The UNESCO document includes numerous errors, perhaps from a bad fax copy. This is especially grievous with Sinhala. For the correct account, see Acharya (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras).
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Gurmukhi
- ^ a b In Urdu and Gurmukhi, ⠭ is used for خ/ਖ਼ x, based on its value in unified international braille. For the equivalent letter in Devanagari, ख़, the pointing diacritic can be used.
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Urdu
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Devanagari
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Gujarati
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Bengali
- ^ a b In Bengali and Oriya, ⠢ is a consonant y-sound. In the national scripts, the letters are derived from the original y, which had shifted to a j-sound. The Oriya letter, ୟ, is transcribed ẏ.
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Oriya
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Telugu
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Kannada
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Malayalam
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Tamil
- ^ Acharya, Bharati Braille Reference: Sinhalese
- ^ a b Sinhala e and ē are reversed from what one would expect from their roman transliteration, according to both Acharya and UNESCO.
- ^ a b c d e f g Though the UNESCO and Acharya documents conflict, it appears that in Sinhala the row of 'extra' characters is out of sync with the values of other Bharati Braille alphabets. ⠟ (kṣ) is used for ඥ jñ (gn), ⠱ (jñ) for ඵ ph, ⠷ (ḻ) for ඇ ă, ⠻ (ṟ) for ඈ â, and ⠵ (z) for ණ ṇ.
- ^ a b ৰ and ৱ are Assamese.
- ^ These have the same sound value in Oriya; Acharya gives one, UNESCO the other.
- ^ a b c In Urdu, ⠟ (kṣ) is used for ق q, the value it has in Unified Braille; ⠱ (jñ) is used for ح ḥ, and ⠷ (ḻ) for ع ʿ. For Devanagari क़ q, the pointing diacritic can be used.
- ^ 
- ^ "Introduction to Bharati Braille". Retrieved 2012-08-30.
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