A biosemiotic analysis of Braille

Biosemiotics 4 (1):25-38 (2011)
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Abstract A unique aspect of human communication is the utilization of sets of well- delineated entities, the morphology of which is used to encode the letters of the alphabet. In this paper, we focus on Braille as an exemplar of this phenomenon. We take a Braille cell to be a physical artifact of the human environment, into the structure of which is encoded a representation of a letter of the alphabet. The specific issue we address in this paper concerns an examination of how the code that is embedded in the structure of a Braille cell is transferred with fidelity from the environment through the body and into the Braille reader’s brain. We describe four distinct encoding steps that enable this transfer to occur.

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Liz Swan
University of Colorado, Boulder


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