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Why do some words in braille have fewer letters than they do in print?

Braille uses several contractions and special symbols to save space. For example, the word braille, when written in braille, is the three letters brl. This is a braille contraction. Some common words like "the" and "and" have a one-character symbol. Common letter combinations like "er" and "ie" also have special symbols. If you look at a sign for a public restroom, you will see that it has only seven letters. This is because "st" is one of the common letter combinations that has its own symbol.