Braille change angers blind readers
Wednesday 26 August 1998
The Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK) has announced that by 2000 it is introducing capital letters into a code which has previously only used lower-case characters.
Supporters say that it is necessary because of the increasing use of capitals as abbreviations, as well as their use in e-mail addresses. It will also bring the UK in line with other English-speaking countries.
But opponents, such as Sara Morgan, the 25-year-old founder of the campaign, argue it will push up costs and make books more cumbersome. "There aren't many industries where they actively make costs go up," she said. "What I think is particularly ironic, though, is the fact this is going to come in at the same time as the Disability Discrimination Act. So, just as we're asking restaurants to provide braille menus we're making it more expensive to do so."
Braille, devised by Louis Braille in the 19th century is based upon a system of six raised dots arranged to represent each character in the alphabet and several short-form words. Around 12,000 people use braille in this country.
BAUK said that it took the decision to go-ahead with plans to introduce capitals after a questionnaire completed by 1,200 braille readers showed that a majority was in favour of change.
The secretary of BAUK, Stephen Phippen, said: "The reason the decision was made was on the basis of the questionnaire, answered by individual members, not on what BAUK thought."
Overall 46 per cent of people were in favour of introducing a capital letter sign wherever a capital letter appears in print and just under 30 per cent were against. Among the respondents classing themselves as visually impaired (those who have some ability to read by sight) it was more popular compared to those who can read braille only by touch.
Ms Morgan said the figures showed "there wasn't even a majority". But Mr Phippen said: "Those in favour were more or less 50 per cent. Those against were roughly half that. So twice as many people are in favour as against."
A spokesman for the National Library for the Blind said a survey done by it in 1994/5 found readers were not in favour. The results of the BAUK survey however convinced them, and a spokesman said they would implement the change. "We recognise there are advantages and disadvantages and we shall be working with our readers to help them understand how this symbol will operate," he said.
The introduction of capital letters is projected to take place by the end of 1999.
"There are pros and cons," admits Mr Phippen. "But it should be noted that we are the only English speaking country which has not yet introduced capital letters and of all the other countries which have not one has regretted it and tried to move back."
However Ms Morgan added: "We are determined to fight it all the way.They have got to stop trampling over people's rights."
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leak: More celebrities allegedly targeted as third wave of hacked images released
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...
£26000 - £27000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced Science Techn...