Speech Synthesizers--Why only American accents?

Why has no one developed a computer speech synthesizer that speaks the Queen’s English? Or Australian-inflected? Listening to his speech synthesizer, I often forget that Stephen Hawking isn’t from the USA.

  1. The USA is the 500-pound gorilla of the English-speaking world. An awful lot of the television/radio/music/etc that people experience in the English language is from here.
  2. The speech synthesizer that Stephen Hawking uses was designed in the US. The American designers made the synthesizer sound like them.
  3. Queen’s English? Oh, you THILLY thing, you!


OK. Better question: Is anyone trying to make speech synthesizers with non-American English accents?

And yet, IME, many people who learned English as a second language, while not residing in North America, speak with what I would describe as an “Oxford accent.” I think this was more common, in years past, when the British Commonwealth (is that the correct term?) still held together more closely and many citizens of former colonies had either British tutors or went to Britain to learn the language. This was probably more true of the upper classs, and perhaps my understanding is somewhat romanticized … but I’m still a little surprised when people from Kenya, Tanzania, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia speak with that accent. (Some folks from those places have what seem like neutral accents (Ontario, Mid-Atlantic-type) to me.))

So, I guess my point is, a large number of people don’t learn English with an American slant.

I always thought this phrase referred to the use of proper grammar, not the accent?

When DECtalk came out (roughly 1984, IIRC) there was at least a French accent. I suspect there are plenty of accents out there, but not much demand for them. The most neutral accent is most likely to be understood.

More US cultural imperialism, I’m afraid. But in defence of my American friends, no I’m not anti-US, and I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, just sheer weight of numbers, so that’s fair enough. However it’s still a pain in the ARSE (note spelling - an “ass” is a donkey-like animal) to this pair of Australian ears when the answering machine on my telephone speaks to me with a weird computerised midwestern accent. But our 19 million souls against your 270+ million (or whatever it is) can’t justify the extra expense in manufacturing differently accented software, I guess.

What is annoying, however, is when MS Word puts an ugly red line under the word “colour” when I spell it the way I grew up spelling it. But that’s an area in which most Americans would be on my side - HATING MICROSOFT!!! :slight_smile:

Why do you torment yourself, Loaded Dog?

Just reconfigure Word with the Australian dictionary and non-USA settings, and your anti Microsoft feelings will subside ever so slightly. I can’t promise that Bill Gates will kiss your arse, but beegars can’t be choosers…

Mastertronic, a British corporation which was bought out by Virgin about a decade ago, published games for PCs and Commodores. Most of the Commodore games featured some digitized speech, which had a British accent.