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Researchers help pioneer ways to enrich lives of visually impaired, An Baijie and Hou Chenchen report.

By An Baijie and Hou Chenchen | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-24 15:53

[Photo provided to China Daily]

Blind people in China have been struggling in guessing the meaning of Braille due to its lack of tones. For instance, Mandarin Braille does not have the ability to differentiate between the Chinese words "time" (shijian with jian in the first tone) and "practice" (shijian with jian in the fourth tone) due to identical pronunciations despite the differing tones.

Things have changed as China introduced the Chinese Common Braille Scheme in 2018.

After seven years of research, Zhong Jinghua, a professor at the Special Education College of Beijing Union University, devised a Chinese Braille system capable of representing the tonal aspects inherent in Mandarin.

Zhong's groundbreaking work put an end to the 70-year history of non-tonal Braille in which visually impaired individuals had to guess word meanings.

Now, tonal Braille has been integrated into primary education and Braille publishing, encompassing textbooks used in schools for the visually impaired across China.

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