I've been working on learning Finnish, and in order to do that, I've been trying to set up a Finnish AAC setup. If I am going to be actually learning a language, I need my AAC to support that language.
What I have found is that it doesn't support it. I can get a voice (and voice engines have a single voice choice, and there are so many languages that don't have any voices), but as I am trying to set up a symbol-based AAC, something I need, and use, it doesn't work.
I have spent an unreasonable amount of time searching, and yet, for all of my searching, all AAC starts from the assumption that languages work like English; that languages grammar work like English, or sure you might change word order between Subject Verb Object, Subject Object Verb, or so on but that can be just chosen with a different order of button presses. They come with assumptions that they can start with English, and order of button presses is all that might vary.
And yet it feels wrong, to not be able to label words as postpositions, with preposition as an option, but not postposition, for types of words. It is a challenge to make AAC work for me when I can add 8 inflections for a word and no more, like words never have more than 8 inflections, when working in a language with more than 8 inflections for the same word. Conguation works differently in different languages - we need to recognize this. Inflections for nouns, adjectives, and other parts of speech are work differently for different languages - we need to recognize this.
We need to, because currently everything is built around English. And not everytihng looks like English. And that means not all languages are supported. Because not all languages are English. And not all languages have the same structure as English.
And all languages need AAC.
There is so much talk of how many button presses to get to words, but when additional folders need to be created, then the number of button presses has to go up - sometimes dramatically. Every test sentence I tried was at least double the number of button presses of what it'd take to say in English to say an equivalent in my current attempt of building a board set in Finnish because of trying to force it to work despite lack of support. This large number of button presses is in large part because of differences in inflections - I don't have the number of noun cases supported and need additional folders for every noun and adjective. I don't have the idea of a language that looks like this supported at all.
But, there are many areas in which languages vary beyond this one example of noun cases - as well as many in which English is unusual. Tenses, questions, there's a lot of things that are just, we need to be able to support how it works in other languages as well.
I cannot find any symbol based AAC that looks comfortable to use with an agglunative language. And agglunative lanaguges exist.
People speak different languages. People have different native languages. People learn different languages. English is not the only language that exists. And limiting people to English because of their disability is a problem. Limiting people to only certain limited languages, because of their disabilities, is a problem. People speak different languages, not all languages look the same, our AAC needs to recognize that. And our AAC needs to support that.