Tibetan Braille

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Tibetan Braille
Creator Sabriye Tenberken
Time period
Parent systems
Print basis
Tibetan alphabet

Tibetan Braille is the braille alphabet for writing the Tibetan language. It was invented in 1992 by German socialworker Sabriye Tenberken. [1] It is based on German braille, with some extensions from international usage. As in print, the vowel a is not written.


Despite Tibetan and Dzongkha (Bhutanese) using the same alphabet in print, Tibetan Braille differs significantly from Dzongkha Braille, which is closer to international norms.


Tibetan Braille follows print orthography. (See Tibetan script.) This is often a poor match for how words are pronounced. Each syllable is rendered in the following order:

pre-consonant, superscript consonant, head consonant, subscript consonant, vowel, post-consonant(s) [2]

The invariable consonants are: [3]

Braille Braille K.svg Braille C3.svg Braille G7.svg Braille Bracket.svg Braille O.svg Braille Y.svg Braille Q.svg Braille A.svg
Braille Braille T.svg Braille U.svg Braille D4.svg Braille N.svg Braille P.svg Braille AND.svg Braille B2.svg Braille M.svg
Braille Braille X.svg Braille Z.svg Braille E.svg Braille SH.svg Braille S.svg Braille E.svg Braille U.svg Braille H8.svg

Several consonants, wa, ya, ra, la, and sa, are provided with forms corresponding to the superscript and subscript positions in print: [4]

Brailleas base letter Braille W.svg Braille J0.svg Braille R.svg Braille L.svg Braille E.svg
as superscript Braille Currency.svg Braille QuoteOpen.svg
as subscript Braille Period.svg Braille QuoteClose.svg Braille ExclamationPoint.svg Braille V.svg

The assignments for zh and z also match international conventions, as those letters are pronounced like sh and s. Several of the assignments which do not match international braille have the values of German Braille: ch for c (ch), j for y[j], z[ts] for tsh, s[z] for z, sch[ʃ] for sh[ʃ], ß[s] for s. Letters which are not basic to the German alphabet (c, q, x, y) have been reassigned. Several of the aspirated consonants (ch, th, ph) are equivalent to the corresponding unaspirated consonant with an extra dot in the third row.

The short vowel "a" is inherent in the head (main) consonant, and is not written explicitly. When a vowel occurs at the beginning of a word, it is carried by a null consonant :

(on )
ཨི ཨུ ཨེ ཨོ
Braille Braille A1.svg Braille A1.svg Braille I9.svg Braille A1.svg Braille U.svg Braille A1.svg Braille E5.svg Braille A1.svg Braille O.svg

Numbers and punctuation

Digits are as in English Braille. Basic punctuation: [3]

Braille Braille Comma.svg Braille Semicolon.svg Braille Semicolon.svg Braille Semicolon.svg

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  1. Kronenberg, Paul. "Tibetan Braille Script". Braille without Borders.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. From email correspondence with Sabriye Tenberken: Single consonants are written without a "a". Only i e o and u are indicated. The order goes like this:
    first the pre consonant, this could be a b, m d ' etc. Then the main consonant. After the main consonant the vowel and then the post consonant. If the main consonant has a super or a sub script, an extra letter that indicates the super script or the subscript is put before and after the main consonant. However it has to be placed before the vowel.
    If you have a word with all letters possible, it looks as follows:
    1. Pre consonant
    2. superscript
    3. main consonant
    4. sub script
    5. vowel
    6. post consonant
    7. second post consonant
    For example: bsgrubs
  3. 1 2 World Braille Usage, UNESCO, 2013
  4. Tibetan Braille01.jpg(Email correspondence/image)|format= requires |url= (help), Braille without Borders