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5.1.1. Overview

Within the European Union, large national initiatives in the area of Language Resources and Technologies may be reported in France and Germany, in the past as well as nowadays with the large Quaero (France) and Theseus (Germany) programs.

Strong efforts have also been conducted for the Dutch language within The Netherlands and Belgium/Flanders.

This denotes a political interest for the corresponding languages, French, German and Dutch, and for developing Language Technologies for those languages, which put them in a relative good position regarding the availability of Language Resources (data and tools), even if it is by far not comparable to what exists for (American) English.

Surprisingly, there is presently little coordinated effort in UK, whereas several research laboratories are of high quality, and produced and distributed major tools (such as the HTK HMM-based recognition toolkit by Cambridge University). The reason may be that LR in (American) English are well covered by the US efforts and by all researchers working worldwide on English Language Processing, allowing for an easier comparison of results.

There also exists a strong political interest for national languages, and accordingly for investing in the development of LRT in the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Sweden, where we may also add Norway and Iceland as non-EU countries). Malta is also increasing the effort on the Maltese language.

Poland shows a large amount of activities, mostly gathered around the Homeland Security issue. Spain has both a national activity in this area and very strong activities in regions which express a strong interest for the linguistic dimension, Catalonia, the Basque region and Galicia. Spain also ensures links with South American countries speaking varieties of Spanish.

Important but maybe less coordinated efforts may be reported in Austria (beside Germany, for the German language), the francophone part of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy (with a specific emphasis on this topic in the Trento and Piemonte regions), Portugal (also ensuring a link with South American countries), Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Although the Irish Gaelic language is now an official language of the European Union, the activity on developing LRT for that language is still limited, while Ireland shows a large activity on language technologies, within universities and companies, but mostly for the English language.

More limited efforts may be reported for Luxembourg (while the Luxembourgish language is not an official EU language) and for Cyprus (while the Cyprus government expressed a strong support to LT in a FP7 preparatory phase survey).