Language Resources and Evaluation

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 143–151 | Cite as

Human language technology and communicative disabilities: requirements and possibilities for the future

  • Marina B. RuiterEmail author
  • Lilian J. Beijer
  • Catia Cucchiarini
  • Emiel J. Krahmer
  • Toni C. M. Rietveld
  • Helmer Strik
  • Hugo Van hamme


For some years now, the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) has been active in promoting the development of human language technology (HLT) applications for speakers of Dutch with communicative disabilities. The reason is that HLT products and services may enable them to improve their communication skills and verbal autonomy. We sought to identify a minimum common set of HLT resources that is required to develop tools for a wide range of communication disabilities. In order to reach this goal, we investigated the specific needs of communicatively disabled people and related these needs to the underlying HLT software components. By analysing the availability and quality of these essential HLT resources, we were able to identify which of the crucial elements need further research and development to become usable for developing applications for communicatively disabled speakers of Dutch. The results obtained in the current survey can be used to inform policy institutions on how they can stimulate the development of HLT resources for this target group. In the current survey results were obtained for Dutch, but a similar approach can also be applied to other languages.


Human language technology (HLT) Communicative disabilities Requirements Future development 



We are indebted to Dirk Lembrechts and Vincent de Jong, who—together with the co-authors—formed the working group of experts. Moreover, we thank all interviewees and participants in the round table conference of September 28, 2007 (too many to name in person) as well as Antal van den Bosch, Onno Crasborn, Inge de Mönnink, Bart Noë, Arthur Dirksen, Michel Boekestein, Remco van Veenendaal, Loes Theunissen, and Marie Pruyn for their valuable contribution to the work presented in this paper. We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina B. Ruiter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lilian J. Beijer
    • 1
  • Catia Cucchiarini
    • 2
  • Emiel J. Krahmer
    • 3
  • Toni C. M. Rietveld
    • 4
  • Helmer Strik
    • 4
  • Hugo Van hamme
    • 5
  1. 1.Sint Maartenskliniek Research, Development and EducationNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Nederlandse TaalunieThe HagueThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Tilburg University, Tilburg Centre for Cognition and Communication (TiCC)TilburgThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of LinguisticsRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.K.U. Leuven, ESAT-PSI, Centre for the Processing of Speech and ImagesLeuvenBelgium

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