The BABEL Database is a speech database that was produced by a research consortium funded by the European Union under the COPERNICUS programme (COPERNICUS Project 1304). The project began in March 1995 and was completed in December 1998. The objective was to create a database of languages of Central and Eastern Europe in parallel to the EUROM1 databases produced by the SAM Project (funded by the ESPRIT programme).
The BABEL consortium included six partners from Central and Eastern Europe (who had the major responsibility of planning and carrying out the recording and labelling) and six from Western Europe (whose role was mainly to advise and in some cases to act as host to BABEL researchers). The five databases collected within the project concern the Bulgarian, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian languages.
The Bulgarian database consists of the basic "common" set which is:
- Many Talker Set: 30 males, 30 females; each to read twice the five blocks of numbers (each of which contains 10 numbers), 3 connected passages and one «filler» passage.
- Few Talker Set: 5 males, 5 females, selected from the above group: each to read 5 times the blocks of numbers, 15 connected passages and 2 «filler» passages, and 5 repetitions of the lists of monosyllables.
- Very Few Talker Set: 1 male, 1 female, selected from Few Talker set: each to read blocks of monosyllables in carrier sentences and five repetitions of the context words.
And the extension part: semi-spontaneous answers to questions: the answers were recorded by the 10 Few Talker Set speakers.