Reply To: Line Continuation Indicator

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Dan Gergen

Hello Mandy,

We're sorry for the delayed reply. Thank you for your inquiry, which seems to have generated more questions than solutions. The UEB Literary Committee discussed the issue at length concerning the division of a single word pronunciation in parentheses and cited Braille Formats 2016, §1.10.1 which says you do not divide words at the end of a line except for purposes of instruction such as in grammars or spellers.

Pronunciations, whether in parentheses or not, are usually seen in print as either one unhyphenated word, or a syllabified word—where syllables are separated by hyphens or spaces. Whichever way they appear in print, pronunciations should not be divided between lines unless they do not fit on one line. — See Braille Formats §20.2.1c. (§20.3.2c says to follow print when syllabification is not indicated.)

But suppose you have one word without hyphens or spaces that by itself will not fit on one line? For example, the longest word in English is "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" —the name of a lung disease containing 45 letters with only one possible contraction. In this extreme case, the word will need to be divided. But how? Do you use a hyphen that does not appear in print? Or can the line continuation indicator be used?

BANA does not mention any provision in Braille Formats for the rare instance of extremely long words needing to be divided. But the Rules of UEB have examples in §10.13.1 that clearly show hyphens used to divide words "when words need to be divided" —although it also states: "It is preferable that transcribers do not divide words at the end of a braille line. Be aware that the braille authorities of some countries have specific guidelines on word division and such guidelines if available should be followed."

But to answer your first question, —no, you do not use the line continuation indicator (dot 5) to divide a word that will not fit on one line. In Lesson 14.7 of the NFB Literary Braille Course, it states: "A line continuation indicator, dot 5, is used when it is necessary to divide a long electronic address that will not fit on one line. This indicator can also be used in numbers and other symbols-sequences too long for one line. Make the division at a logical break and at a point that is not between two letters or between two digits."

The phrase "other symbols-sequences" is used as a generalization to avoid introducing technical material that is not covered in the NLS literary braille certification course. Line continuation indicators explained in the NLS Instruction Manual are used to divide long numbers or electronic addresses that do not fit on one line. However, UEB Guidelines for Technical Material 2008 in §17.2 explain the use of the line continuation indicator to divide other symbols-sequences, such as in displayed computer notation where exact spacing is critical to the formal syntax involved. Long file path names could also contain other symbols such as numbers and punctuation, such as c:\program_files\abc_corporation1995\utility_programs\quarterIV

Another example would be a series of unspaced "hashtags" or "@tags" that could contain keywords, numbers, emojis, or other symbols that sometimes appear in print unspaced, such as #Rest_Relaxing#EagleRiver546#Fishing4U. The line continuation indicator could be placed anywhere in the symbols-sequence except between numbers or letters.

The only conclusion that we can come to is that single words should not be divided unless the word will not completely fit on one line, But the line continuation indicator should only be used in dividing numbers and computer material that will not fit on one line.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.