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It was originally developed in the late 1980s for six European languages by the EEC ESPRIT information technology research and development program. As many symbols as possible have been taken over from the IPA; where this is not possible, other signs that are available are used, e.g. [@] for schwa,  for the vowel sound found in French deux and  for the vowel sound found in French neuf.
Today, officially, SAMPA has been developed for all the sounds of the following languages:
- A concise version of SAMPA chart for English sounds.
- A more complete SAMPA chart of the sounds found in most of the European languages.
- Unicode and HTML/IPA Extensions