What is contracted (grade two) braille?

Contractions are specialized abbreviations. For example, there is one braille cell for th, and another one for in. In braille, think is 3 characters, th, in, and the letter k. The use of these abbreviations follows pronunciations. The th sign is not used in the word pothole, since that would suggest the word is pronounced with a "th" sound.

At various times, grade one braille (no contractions), grade one and a half braille (about 50 contractions), grade two braille (187 contractions), and grade three braille (many hundreds of contractions) have been defined. Since World War 2, only grade one and grade two have been used. Recently, there has been agreement to use the terms uncontracted braille and contracted braille to avoid confusion with school grade levels.

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