Make your workstation speak

You can make your linux workstation speak using espeak.  Espeak is a text-to-speech synthesizer.  If you have Ubuntu desktop, then you should already find it installed.

If you are a Ubuntu user and you don’t find espeak already installed, then you need to install the  following:

$ sudo apt-get install espeak espeak-data

If you have Fedora, you can install espeak, using yum.

$ sudo yum install espeak

To use espeak, go to the cmdline.

espeak “hello, this is a test


espeak -f <textfile>


cat <textfile> | espeak

You can control the speed at which words are spoken.

(To slow it down…default speed is 160)

espeak -s 120 “hello, this is a test”

To save the spoken words as a .wav file.  Rather than direct output.

espeak -w hello.wav “hello, this is a test”

You can select different voices.  To get a list of available voices use –voices.

Lets do the same but with a bit of italian accent.

espeak -v it “hello, this is a test”

Espeak also supports, though not fully, Speech Synthesizer Markup Language (SSML).  This is a markup language similar to xml which controls the way text is pronounced.

To see the details of how espeak pronounces words, use the -x and -X options.  This will output the phonetic codes associated with the spoken words, and whether the word is looked up or translated.

I hope this was useful.  Leave a comment if you find a particularly interesting way to use espeak.