ISCA Archive SIGUL 2023
ISCA Archive SIGUL 2023

Geabaire, the First Irish AAC System: Voice as a Vehicle for Change

Emily Barnes, Julia Cummins, Rian Errity, Oisín Morrin, Harald Berthelsen, Christoph Wendler, Andy Murphy, Helen Husca, Neasa Ní Chiaráin, Ailbhe Ní Chasaide

This paper introduces Geabaire, an Irish language Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) system which is currently under development in the Phonetics and Speech Laboratory, Trinity College Dublin. This high-tech AAC system provides a vehicle for users who are non-speaking or minimally-speaking to converse with the world. Geabaire is one step in the movement towards the provision of access to the same technologies in Irish as in English, with the overarching goal of improving support for children who are neurodivergent or who have special educational needs who wish to speak Irish in a social or educational context. The development involves a community-driven, multidisciplinary team and involves co- design with autistic people, parents, teachers and speech and language therapists. This paper describes three initial approaches made – (i) the adaptation of an existing English system, (ii) efforts towards commercial collaboration and (iii) building a prototype within an existing open-source system – each of which provided lessons for future development. Based on these lessons, we embarked on building our own custom- made, native system called Geabaire. The challenges of development in a minority language – even a well-resourced one – are discussed and plans for future development are described.


doi: 10.21437/SIGUL.2023-28

Cite as: Barnes, E., Cummins, J., Errity, R., Morrin, O., Berthelsen, H., Wendler, C., Murphy, A., Husca, H., Ní Chiaráin, N., Ní Chasaide, A. (2023) Geabaire, the First Irish AAC System: Voice as a Vehicle for Change . Proc. 2nd Annual Meeting of the ELRA/ISCA SIG on Under-resourced Languages (SIGUL 2023), 129-133, doi: 10.21437/SIGUL.2023-28

@inproceedings{barnes23_sigul,
  author={Emily Barnes and Julia Cummins and Rian Errity and Oisín Morrin and Harald Berthelsen and Christoph Wendler and Andy Murphy and Helen Husca and Neasa {Ní Chiaráin} and Ailbhe {Ní Chasaide}},
  title={{Geabaire, the First Irish AAC System: Voice as a Vehicle for Change }},
  year=2023,
  booktitle={Proc. 2nd Annual Meeting of the ELRA/ISCA SIG on Under-resourced Languages (SIGUL 2023)},
  pages={129--133},
  doi={10.21437/SIGUL.2023-28}
}