SPEAK is a software text to speech system for Acorn computers. No additional hardware is needed.
The SPEAK system consists of:
The version 2 Speech Module now provides different voices and accents.
You can call it from your own programs by passing it an English text string either as a * command, or by an SWI call.
The speech module and its data files total about 250 kbytes of memory, which is far less than most PC systems.
The speech module applies suitable intonation and cadence over each clause, taking note of punctuation such as commas, brackets, quotes, and question marks to vary this.
Text can be edited (in a similar way to in !Edit) while it is being spoken, making it ideal for proof-reading. The cursor can follow the text as it speaks, and the window scrolls automatically. The speaking can be easily paused and continued at any point by simply pressing the escape key.
This is not a full word-processor, but you can use it to prepare text for a word processor, or to speak text from one. Or you can use it by itself if you don't need text layout features.
This makes it especially useful for people with spelling difficulties.
It compares very favourably with the popular hand-held Franklin spellmaster range in that its list of suggestions includes fewer false-positives (words which could not possibly be intended).
It also has a conventional "typo" option for suggesting words, which behaves similarly to the Impression spell-checker.
An additional feature is as a crossword puzzle solving aid. It can list the words which match a template of known and unknown letters.
Pronunciations can be specified either by giving a "Sounds like" word, or by using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The pronunciation editor has buttons for the various phonemes, each of which can speak its sound, with an example word.
Different voices and accents.
Some additions to help visually impaired users.
This is certainly not the case.
!Speak is of use to everyone.
Missed out words, wrong words, duplicate words; these are errors that a Spelling Checker can't detect. You often miss them when looking through your text too! You read what you think is there, not what actually is.
How embarrassing it is when your mistakes are there in the newsgroup for everyone to see.
But when you hear your text being spoken, these errors stand out clearly.
!Speak allows you to make corrections to your text while it speaks it.
Talk-as-you-Type works by looking at the keyboard, so it will work with any application whether or not it supports speech.
Or do you want to read a file while you are doing some other job? Set the text speaking, and so long as your other activity doesn't take too much mental effort, you can listen at the same time.
Can't be bothered to read the ReadMe files on this month's magazine cover disk? Just listen to them instead.
Talking PenDown and PenDown DTP from Longman Logotron use the speech module from Superior Software's "Speech!2".
I understand that the new version of Ovation Pro which is due at the beginning of May will provide an interface to SPEAK. This will enable Ovation to be used as a full talking word processor. SPEAK will need to be purchased separately.
The phonetic based spelling checker is given as a separate download. This is used in conjunction with the first demo.
This compares very favourably with other older Acorn speech synthesis products such as
Send your original !Speak disc with a 26p stamp for return postage.
Talking TextEase comes with a restricted version of the text to speech module from the SPEAK system. Talking TextEase owners can upgrade to the full SPEAK system for 10 ukp by sending their Talking TextEase main floppy disc (which will be returned) with the order.