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Customizing SPEECH! by Superior Software

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 5:45 pm
by lurkio
Lately I seem to have developed a mania for making BASIC programs talk, so here's Roger McGough's interactive poem Now Press RETURN, from the Beeb Welcome tape -- with added speech.

There are two versions of the speechified poem. The first uses an unaltered copy of Superior Software's program Speech (or "SPEECH!" as it was styled on the box cover), which pronounces some of the words in the poem in a very odd way (especially "analogue"). (See also the pronunciations of "fancy" and "liking" in the speechified Love Letters program.)

It turns out you can add custom pronunciations to Speech by editing the "data dictionary", as described in the instructions -- although they fail to specify where exactly the data dictionary is! It turns out it's embedded at the end of the executable machine-code file $.SPEECH. The load address of $.SPEECH is &5500 and there are about &900 bytes free for custom dictionary entries between &72FB and &7C00 (in MODE 7).

Here's a disc-image containing the two speechified versions ("original" and "improved") of Now Press RETURN:
Play online:

Here are the custom dictionary entries for Now Press RETURN which I added to the Speech program (by editing the file $.SPEECH in a hex editor on macOS). I've cleaned up the formatting:

Code: Select all

TRY TRIY
TWO TUXUX
FIND FIYND
TOUCH TAHCH
POET POWIXT
BOTH BOWTH
RETURN RIXTERRN
YOUNG YAHNX
QUIE KWIYEH
ED_ D
AWL AOL
 SCR  SKR
 SC  S
DON'T DOWNT
POEM POWIXM
MESSAGES MEHSIXJIXZ
THROUGH THRUX
DIODE DIYOWD
PARIT PAERIXT
CHINE SHEEEEN
WALK WAOAOK
LIMER LIXMOHR
SHOULDN'T SH/UDNT
 EMO  IXMOW
ERAS IXRAYS
TRIED TRIYD
DIANA DIYAENAH
PRACTIS PRAEKTIXS
PIANO PEEAENAH
CERE SEER
VIOL VIYOHL
OGIES OHJEES
FORGIVE FAORGIXV
THAMES TEHMZ
CAN'T KAAAANT
ROGER ROJ/UR
SECRET SEEKRIXT
LATELY LAYTLEE
LONELINESS LOWNLIXN/US
GRECIAN GREESH/UN
PLAST PLAEST
DROWN DRAWN
DAFFODIL DAEF/UDIXL
GRAFFITI GRAEFEETEE
ABOUT AHBAWT
ALSO AOLSOW
OLIVE OLIXV
HAWK /HAOAO6K
DRAW DRAO/U
CROC KROK
WOUNDS WUXNDS
OLD OWLD
DOVE DAH/UV
RE- REE
ANALOGUE AEN/ULOG
MYSTERI MIXSTEEREE
FALSE FOLS
ALIEN AYLEE/UN
SERVANT SERV/UNT
TACK TAEAEK
TOGETHER TUHGEHDH/UR
THORN THAOAON
:idea:

Re: Customizing SPEECH! by Superior Software

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 5:50 pm
by SimonSideburns
Those words are interesting. I remember back in the day I couldn't even get Speech! to say bed. I tried all sorts of combinations, such as behd, but nothing sounded quite right.

I might have to try again after studying your list further.

Re: Customizing SPEECH! by Superior Software

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 5:54 pm
by lurkio
SimonSideburns wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:50 pm
Those words are interesting. I remember back in the day I couldn't even get Speech! to say bed. I tried all sorts of combinations, such as behd, but nothing sounded quite right. I might have to try again after studying your list further.
Yes, BITD I was always baffled by how bad Speech was at pronouncing some simple words!

Try using the *SPEAK command with words spelt using the special phonetic notation unique to the Speech program (as opposed to the *SAY command, which accepts (and mispronounces) standard English word spellings).

:idea:

EDIT: For the word "bed", try this:

Code: Select all

*SPEAK BEHD

Re: Customizing SPEECH! by Superior Software

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 9:37 pm
by VectorEyes
Perfect time for me to me to mention that I once tried "*SAY GHOTI" and, well, try it for yourself... :)

Re: Customizing SPEECH! by Superior Software

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 10:39 pm
by lurkio
VectorEyes wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 9:37 pm
Perfect time for me to me to mention that I once tried "*SAY GHOTI" and, well, try it for yourself... :)
I ruined that surprise for myself when I hex-edited the data dictionary.

:roll: