Thai and Lao Braille

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Thai Braille
Lao Braille
Type
alphabet
Languages Thai, Lao
Parent systems
Braille
Print basis
Thai alphabet
Lao alphabet
Child systems
Cambodian Braille

Thai Braille (อักษรเบรลล์) is the braille alphabet of the Thai language. It was adapted by Genevieve Caulfield, who knew both English and Japanese Braille. Unlike the print Thai alphabet, which is an abugida, Thai Braille has full letters rather than diacritics for vowels. However, traces of the Thai abugida remain: Only the consonants are based on the international English/French standard, while the vowels are reassigned and the five vowels transcribed a e i o u are taken from Japanese Braille.

With a few minor modifications, it's also used for Lao.

Braille charts[edit]

Thai and Lao Braille run as follows:[1][2][3]

Consonants[edit]

Consonants follow English and international conventions except where, as in b and f, there is interference from the Japanese-derived vowels. Low-tone-class kh, ng, ch, s, th, f are derived from English Braille k, g, st, s, th, f by adding dot 6. B and low ph are derived from high ph through reflection; p is a superposition of b and ph; the three consonants had been transcribed b, bp, p in Caulfield's day.

Thai
Lao
k
k
kh
kh
*kh
 
kh
kh
*kh
 
kh
 
ng
ng
Braille ⠛ (braille pattern dots-1245) ⠅ (braille pattern dots-13) ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠅ (braille pattern dots-13) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136) ⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136) ⠻ (braille pattern dots-12456)
c
ch
ch
 
ch
 
s
s
ch
 
y
y
⠚ (braille pattern dots-245) ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34) ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346) ⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456)
d t th th th n
⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠙ (braille pattern dots-145) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠳ (braille pattern dots-1256) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠾ (braille pattern dots-23456) ⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠾ (braille pattern dots-23456) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠝ (braille pattern dots-1345)
d
d
t
t
th
th
th
th
th
 
n
n
⠙ (braille pattern dots-145) ⠳ (braille pattern dots-1256) ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345) ⠾ (braille pattern dots-23456) ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠾ (braille pattern dots-23456) ⠝ (braille pattern dots-1345)
b
b
p
p
ph
ph
f
f
ph
ph
f
f
ph
 
m
m
⠧ (braille pattern dots-1236) ⠯ (braille pattern dots-12346) ⠏ (braille pattern dots-1234) ⠭ (braille pattern dots-1346) ⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456) ⠫ (braille pattern dots-1246) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456) ⠍ (braille pattern dots-134)
y
ⁿy
r
r
l
l
w
w
s
 
s
 
s
s
h
h
⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456) ⠗ (braille pattern dots-1235) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠺ (braille pattern dots-2456) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠎ (braille pattern dots-234) ⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠎ (braille pattern dots-234) ⠎ (braille pattern dots-234) ⠓ (braille pattern dots-125)
อ '
ອ '
l
 
h
h
⠕ (braille pattern dots-135) ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠿ (braille pattern dots-123456)

Letters with asterisks are obsolete. Light cells are high tone-class letters in Thai, medium cells mid tone class, and dark cells low tone class. Consonants of different tone classes have distinct braille letters; complete homonyms (found in Thai only) are distinguished by prefixes. The one prefix in Lao is found with what was historically y, but is written as in the Thai y that was historically ny.

In Lao, h is prefixed to ng ny n m l w to make move them to the high-tone class.

Vowels[edit]

The short vowels transcribed a e i o u are taken from Japanese Braille, and the long vowels ā ē ī ō ū are derived from these. ǫ (ɔ) is French/international o, and eu/ue is French œ. The other vowels have little recognizable connection to other braille alphabets.

All vowels are written after the consonant in braille, regardless of their order in print. Although the vowels have different forms in print, depending on their environment, they have a single form in braille with few exceptions (short a and in Lao short o).

◌ะ a
◌ະ
◌า ā
◌າ
i
◌ິ
ī
◌ີ
eu
◌ຶ
e͞u
◌ື
u
*
ū
◌ູ
⠁ (braille pattern dots-1) ⠡ (braille pattern dots-16) ⠃ (braille pattern dots-12) ⠆ (braille pattern dots-23) ⠪ (braille pattern dots-246) ⠢ (braille pattern dots-26) ⠉ (braille pattern dots-14) ⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)
a
◌ັ
แ◌ a͞e
ແ◌
เ◌ ē
ເ◌
โ◌ ō
ໂ◌
◌อ ǭ
◌ໍ
เ◌าะ ǫ
ເ◌າະ
เ◌อ o͞e
ເ◌ີ
⠜ (braille pattern dots-345) ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126) ⠋ (braille pattern dots-124) ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24) ⠕ (braille pattern dots-135) ⠕ (braille pattern dots-135) ⠁ (braille pattern dots-1) ⠩ (braille pattern dots-146)
am
◌ໍາ
ไ◌ ai
ໄ◌
ใ◌ ai
ໃ◌
เ◌ๅ ao
ເ◌ົາ
ัว ūa
◌ົວ
เีย īa
ເ◌ຍ
เือ e͞ua
ເ◌ືອ
⠵ (braille pattern dots-1356) ⠱ (braille pattern dots-156) ⠱ (braille pattern dots-156) ⠂ (braille pattern dots-2) ⠖ (braille pattern dots-235) ⠑ (braille pattern dots-15) ⠷ (braille pattern dots-12356) ⠟ (braille pattern dots-12345)
rue
 
lue
 
*
◌ຸ u
*
◌ົ o
 
◌ຽ oi
⠗ (braille pattern dots-1235) ⠂ (braille pattern dots-2) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠂ (braille pattern dots-2) ⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠉ (braille pattern dots-14) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456)

*Lao has reassigned to ◌ົ o and moved ◌ຸ u to .

When is used in print to indicate a short vowel, is appended to the vowel in braille. Similarly, ฤา and ฦา are written as ฤ or ฦ plus า in braille as they are in print. The one irregularity in Thai, also found in Lao, is for เ–าะ short ǫ, written in braille though not in print as the short variant of –อ long ǭ. Lao has additional, similar regularization of print conventions: for short ເ◌ິ oe, and similarly the braille short sign for a different print diacritic in short ເ◌ຶອ eua and ເ◌ັຍ ia.

Tone letters[edit]

¹
◌່
²
◌້
³
◌໊

◌໋
⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236)

Other symbols[edit]


(silent)
(red.)
็, ฺ
(short)

(abbrev.)
ฯลฯ etc. ◌̊
(anusvara)
⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠂ (braille pattern dots-2) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠰ (braille pattern dots-56) ⠆ (braille pattern dots-23) ⠰ (braille pattern dots-56) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠐ (braille pattern dots-5)

The short sign, ็, is also used for the rarer virama ฺ .

Numbers[edit]

Numbers are the same as in other braille alphabets, though dot six is prefixed to the to specify that they're Thai/Lao digits.

Punctuation[edit]

Single (though not paired) clause-final punctuation may introduced with , but is otherwise as in English Braille.

.  ?  !  ;  : /
⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠖ (braille pattern dots-235) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠆ (braille pattern dots-23) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠒ (braille pattern dots-25) ⠸ (braille pattern dots-456) ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)

There is some variability in the use of the to mark stop/period, comma, and the exclamation point. Thai Braille seems to use for the comma, while Lao Braille uses , unless the latter is a copy error in Unesco (2013).

- =  %
⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠰ (braille pattern dots-56) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠐ (braille pattern dots-5) ⠂ (braille pattern dots-2) ⠈ (braille pattern dots-4) ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356)
“    ” (    ) ........ -----
⠦ (braille pattern dots-236) ⠀ (braille pattern blank) ⠴ (braille pattern dots-356) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠀ (braille pattern blank) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠨ (braille pattern dots-46) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠨ (braille pattern dots-46)

Example[edit]

Braille
Thai วิ กิ พี เดีย
Lao ວິ ກິ ພີ ເດຍ

References[edit]