visit the American Foundation for the Blind

...Nemeth Braille...

Braille Bug home page




Many years ago there was a blind man named Abraham Nemeth who wanted to go to college and take math classes. He needed a way to write math problems in braille. The literary braille code, the one we use for words, let him write numbers, but there weren't braille characters for writing symbols we use in math like a "+" sign or a "÷" sign nor were there characters for writing really hard math problems or ones that had both letters and numbers in them like 4x – (7x + 5) = or ones with exponents like 102 × 12 = so he invented his own braille code. It was named after him, just like Louis Braille had the literary code named after himself.

Braille readers use the Nemeth code when they are in math class. You've learned that in the literary braille code the numbers are written by putting a number sign Simbraille of number sign: dots 3 4 5 6 in front of the first 10 letters of the alphabet. In Nemeth code we do the same thing, but the numbers are "dropped". They are in the bottom part of the braille cell.


Dots 3 4 5 6
Dot 2
Dots 2 3
Dots 2 5
Dots 2 5 6
Dots 2 6
Dots 2 3 5
Dots 2 3 5 6
Dots 2 3 6
Dots 3 5
Dots 3 5 6
# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


Do you know what these numbers are?


simulated braille for a number simulated braille for a number simulated braille for a number

Check the answer key to see if you're correct. Braille readers, right-click here to download braille-ready files of the same numbers.


Here are some other symbols that are used in Nemeth code.


simulated braille for plus sign, dots 3 4 6
simulated braille for minus sign, dots 3 6
simulated braille for multiplication sign simulated braille for division sign simulated braille for equal sign
+ - × ÷ =


Did you notice that the "×" and "÷" each take two cells to write? With the numbers and symbols students can read and write math problems.


50 + 10 = 60
50 + 10 = 60

3 x 8 =24
3 × 8 = 24


Here are some math problems. Once you "decode" them, that is figure out what they say, click here to see if you have them correct. Braille readers, right-click here to download braille-ready files of the same math problems.


7+12 = 29

92 - 68 = 24

51÷ 3 = 17

25 × 8 = 200


Writing More Advanced Math Problems


Abraham Nemeth wanted to do more than write simple math problems. He wanted to be able to use braille to write problems in algebra, geometry, and even calculus! So, he had to take the 6 dots in the braille cell and find many creative ways to use them so everything mathematical could be put in braille. This is one reason why he put the numbers in the bottom of the braille cell. This way a braille reader would not confuse the letter "a" Dot 1 with the literary braille number "1" #a . In the Nemeth code "1a" is written 1a and "c3" is written c3 .


There are a lot of rules about how to write Nemeth code. Students not only have to learn how to do the math, but they have to learn the rules for reading and writing it in braille too.


Below are some more symbols that are often used in math class.


Dots 1 2 3 5 6
Dots 2 3 4 5 6
Dots 1 2 3 4 5 6
( ) ?
(for fill in a missing number)


An exponent has a special symbol in front of it so the braille reader knows that it is "up in the air." That symbol is written Dots 4 5 . There isn't a symbol like this in print, in print you can see the position of the exponent in 52. Look at these sample problems and then decode the 4 problems. Check the answer key to see if you got them correct. Braille readers, you can right-click here to download the braille-ready file containing the same sample problems.


48 + ? = 55
48 + ? = 55

(x – 7)(30 ÷ 5) =  18
(x – 7)(30 ÷ 5) = 18

(7 + ? = 10

(3x – 2) = 13

9y ÷ x2 = 9

(12 – p)(p + 4) = ?


If you got the sample problems correct you're doing great. If they stumped you a bit, then review your numbers and signs and try again another time.


Return to What is Braille? | Return to Home Page



 
Change Colors |  What Is Braille? |  Reading Club  |  Games |  Louis Braille |  Helen Keller |  Braille Bug Home

 Parents and Teachers |  Donors |  Learn About the American Foundation for the Blind |   Valid HTML 4.0!
Copyright © 2014 American Foundation for the Blind. Braille Bug is a registered trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind. No use of any AFB trademark is permitted without express written permission.