Article by Ankur Aggarwal, owner of the Blog http://flossstuff.wordpress.com
Sometimes we want our Linux box to speak to/for us.This ability is very useful to make announcements and alerts in case of many critical events in our machines or can be used just for sheer fun. There exists a command line synthesized known as eSpeak that comes pre installed in Ubuntu. You can also install it on debian systems by typing the command
sudo apt-get install espeak in a command console .For all other operating systems you can install it from source available at http://espeak.sourceforge.net/download.html
eSpeak uses a “formant synthesis” method. This allows many languages to be provided in a small size. The speech is clear, and can be used at high speeds, but is not as natural or smooth as larger synthesizers which are based on human speech recordings.
eSpeak is available as:
- A command line program (Linux and Windows) to speak text from a file or from stdin.
- A shared library version for use by other programs. (On Windows this is a DLL).
- A SAPI5 version for Windows, so it can be used with screen-readers and other programs that support the Windows SAPI5 interface.
- eSpeak has been ported to other platforms, including Solaris and Mac OSX.
The usage of espeak is pretty straight forward, just type espeak “text to announce” in a text console and listen your computer speaking the text.Some basic options to control espeak are :
a <integer> sets the amplitude/loudness of the speech
f <filename> speaks the content of the given file
p <integer> sets the pitch/frequency of the speech
s <integer> sets the speed of the speech in words/minute
Espeak is a cross platform utility that runs on more than half a dozen of OS platforms. So go through its man page by typing
man espeak in a text console , explore it more and make your machine speak.
Or if you prefer a graphical interface you can install (on Debian and Ubuntu) the package espeak-gui
This software it’s currently it is developed using Python and Gtk+, the interaction with eSpeak itself being done using python-espeak.