1.2 Punctuation

The Punctuation Indicator

The punctuation indicator, dots four five six, must be placed between a numeral and a mark of punctuation such as a period or question mark. It indicates that the numeral has ended and that which follows is a mark of punctuation rather than a digit. For example, the period, dots two five six, would represent the digit four if the punctuation indicator did not precede it. Likewise, the question mark, dots two three six, would be interpreted as the digit eight without the presence of the punctuation indicator.

Example 1

Problem ten.

Example 2

Are you going to the park at three?

The punctuation indicator must come before the following marks of punctuation: period, question mark, colon, semicolon, apostrophe, quotation marks, and exclamation point. There are three marks of punctuation that do not require the punctuation indicator; these are: comma, hyphen, and dash.

Example 3

We will be home between two thirty and two forty five.

Example 4

Circle all of the two's.

Example 5

Do problems five through ten.

Example 6

Read pages fifty six through sixty two.

Example 7

Do you have a "five"?

Example 8

We won with a score three to one!

Example 9

We have a car that will seat four dash maybe five.

  1. The numeric indicator is placed before a numeral when the numeral is at the beginning of a braille line or when the numeral follows a space.
  2. The numerals are all in the lower part of a braille cell, using only dots two, three, five, and/or six.
  3. When a numeral is followed by a mark of punctuation other than a comma, hyphen, or dash, the punctuation indicator must be used to separate the numeral and the mark of punctuation.

These three rules govern the use of all numerals, except page numbers which are always written in literary code. Thus, dots one, two, four, and/or five in the upper part of the braille cell are used to represent page numbers. Nemeth code numerals, in the lower portion of the braille cell, are not used to number pages. Note that literary code numerals are also preceded by the numeric indicator.

All numbers in a work that is mathematical or scientific are Nemeth Code numbers. Even within the textual portions of the material, all numbers are Nemeth numbers. The only occurrences when literary braille numbers are used are:

  • on title pages
  • at the corners of pages (page numbering)
  • at the ends of page-separation lines
  • when the technique of keying is employed

In all other cases, the numerals of the Nemeth Code must be used (NBC, ยง7b).

The punctuation indicator terminates the effect of the numeric indicator, as well as any other mathematical symbol that may precede the mark of punctuation. It is placed directly after the numeral or other symbol, and preceding the mark of punctuation.

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