The Spoken Language Working Group (WG5) was constituted from nine senior members of the European spoken language R&D community. The selected individuals represented a range of industrial, academic and government interests and each had direct expertise in the area of spoken language standards and resources. The nine members of the Working Group were:
From the outset of the EAGLES initiative, it was clear to the Spoken Language Working Group that very substantial resources already existed in regard to established spoken language corpora and widely accepted systems of data description. Also available were integrated systems of assessment and, in some areas, detailed methods of evaluation. In particular, the prior work of the ESPRIT Speech Assessment Methods (SAM) project had already laid down very substantial groundwork in these areas.
There was, however, an urgent need to provide a central focus for the consolidation and appropriate promulgation of these developments - a ``handbook'' - and the EAGLES initiative provided a unique framework for achieving this in a European context.
As a consequence, the overall objectives of the EAGLES Spoken Language Working Group (WG5) were set down as follows:
The main technical topics addressed by the Spoken Language Working Group were spoken language resources, systems and terminology [Moore (1994b), Winski et al. (1995)].
In the resources area, the Group considered that what was required was a review of contemporary and planned national and international corpora, a catalogue of existing speech data archives and a listing of existing distribution centres. The Group also felt that common protocols, formats and tools should be collated covering all of the important aspects of the design, specification, collection, representation, storage and distribution of spoken language corpora.
In the spoken language systems area, the Group identified two important subtopics: system specification (including requirements definitions, interface standards, dialogue engineering and multimedia) and system assessment (covering methodologies for spoken language input assessment, spoken language output assessment, interactive systems and other speech technologies such as speaker verification ).
For spoken language terminology, the Group defined the following activities as being required: the creation of an initial word list, it's extension and/or reduction by members of the Group, the definition of each headword and the addition of glosses in major European languages. However, the Group noted that the funding resources available within the EAGLES initiative were unlikely to be sufficient to complete this important task.