Resource

Navajo Braille Code

Introduction to the Navajo Braille Code

Diné Bizaad Braille BiKáá

By Carol Begay Green, MA, CTVI, NCUEB

I developed a braille code for the Navajo language and it was approved by the Navajo Nation Board of Diné Education.  Navajo braille has no contractions. Navajo words and passages are to be fully written in alphabetic, uncontracted braille. Punctuation, type face, and numbers will adhere to the UEB guidelines (see BANA, 2013). It was designed to be used to instruct adults and children who use braille to read and write in Navajo.

Chart of Navajo Braille Code

chart of braille
Click to open the chart as a PDF.

Vowels

Nasal Vowels are indicated by prefixing Braille cell with dots 4 and 6 (dots 4,6) before a plain or high-tone vowel.

chart of Navajo vowels in braille
Click to open the chart as a PDF.

What are the next steps with the Navajo Braille Code?

It will be shared with the Braille Authority of North America in order to be adopted for World Braille Usage. Once it is approved and adopted by the Navajo Nation and BANA, it will be shared with the Arizona School for the Blind, the New Mexico School for the blind, and the Utah School for the Blind so that Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TVIs) and transcribers will become aware of the standardization of a Navajo Braille Code to be used with blind children, especially blind Navajo children. Also, major colleges and universities in the four corners region will be made aware of the code as well so that adults who use braille will have access to learning Navajo language. Once the braille code is formally adopted by the Navajo Tribe it will be shared throughout educational and professional communities which serve blind and visually impaired adults and children within the Navajo Nation and surrounding communities. It could also be posted on the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education website.

Watch the video below to hear the author speak about the Navajo Braille Program.

See also: Braille Codes for Native American and First Nations Languages

Collage of Navajo Braille Code