Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans now read Braille, down from around half in the 1950s. Reporter Rachel Aviv wrote about the dying language earlier this year in The New York Times Magazine.
Thanks for the validation, Francisco. My question was really a rhetorical one triggered by the title of this piece, which erroneously referred to Braille as "a dying language". Out of curiosity, I actually learned (more or less) to "read" Braille (what I now know from you was Level 1!) when I was a child, though never fluently. It was interesting to learn about the different levels of Braille, and the way your significant other uses it in her daily life.
My other half is blind. Braille is, essentially, an alphabet. Grade 1 Braille is just the alphabet, punctuation and numbers. Grade 2 Braille is Braille with shorthand (e.g. there are individual symbols for "but", "and" and "tion").
My other half uses Braille because she can write herself a note on a Perkins Brailler (see http://onlineshop.rnib.org.uk/display_item.asp?n=11&c=86&sc=333&id=2776&it=1&l=3&d=0) and use it in situations when a powered device would be inconvenient.
Is Braille a language or simply an alphabet that is read by tactile means? I only know the rudiments of Braille, but there seems to me a fundamental difference between it and sign language, which is a fully realized language with its own rules of grammar, etc. Isn't Braille used to render exactly the same written language used by non-blind people? Not being blind, I can't speak one way or the other about how blind people might feel about Braille, but I can imagine what a wonderful thing it was when it was the only means of "reading" what others of one's culture had visual access to.
I'm sorry that I don't know the station closest to you that broadcasts On the Media. But the list of times and places when we're broadcast in Michigan is here:
Hope this helps
Can you give me a time when Rachel Aviv will be interviewed on NPR and what radio station?
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