Speech! (Superior) Review | Acorn User - Everygamegoing

Acorn User

By Superior
BBC Model B

Published in Acorn User #043

Speak Nicely To Me

This is a 7.5K machine code program that makes your BBC Micro speak. Great, what's new about that, you ask. The answer lies in the fact that you don't need any extra hardware to make use of it.

No speech interface, no speech ROM, it simply uses the internal speaker on the Beeb to say its words. Now that is different!

To use the program you simply run Speech! (i.e. *RUN SPEECH). Once installed, the command *SAY will cause the words following it to be spoken aloud, i.e.:

*SAY I'm a clever BBC Microcomputer

Of course, these commands can be incorporated into your own programs.

The user of a question mark or full stop allows the pitch of a word to be pushed up or down, respectively.

The reproduction is surprisingly good, and certainly on a par with some of the more expensive speech interfaces I have heard.

*SPEAK enables you to get Speech! to pronounce individual phonemes. Using numbers after vowel sounds will alter its pinch accordingly, i.e.


Thus certain words can be stressed at the appropriate point.

The overall pitch of speech can be set by use of the *PITCH command.

Because of the large size of the Speech! file only mode 7 can be used when it is loaded into normal memory. A relocation program is supplied which allows you to relocate it wherever you wish.

Also supplied is Speech! written as a ROM image - thus sideways RAM owners can simply load it in with no loss of memory.

Yet another goodie included is the "SAYFILE" program. With Speech! installed, simply run this program to get it to read out a Wordwise or View file. Ideally the file should be a spooled version otherwise Speech! will try to say any embedded commands it encounters. This facility does not operate too well with View due to its lack of a true spool facility. However, it really is great fun to have your copy read back to you!

All in all, an excellent low cost speech system that really is very good value for money.

Bruce Smith