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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: October ::
Voice Synthesizers and Electronic Texts
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 265. Monday, 21 Oct 1991.
 
 
Date:    	Sat, 19 Oct 1991 20:08:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: 		David Richman <
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Subject: 	Voice synthesizers and storms
 
     In response to Steve Urkowitz's question about voice synthesizers and old
spelling:  The voice synthesizer's software contains a phoneme translator.  It
attempts to turn every combination of letters it receives into a pronounceable
phoneme.  Then it attempts to pronounce it.  One has to get used to odd
pronunciations.  Imagine Mr. Spock with a vaguely Middle Eastern accent.
Naturally, I am often confused by pronunciations of passages in old spelling.
On such occasions, I command the synthesizer to spell the passage one letter at
a time.  It can do this quite rapidly.  In a pinch, passages can be Brailled
out.  One can also command the synthesizer either to speak or to suppress
punctuation.  Tedious?  Yes.  but the stuff is already in the computer, so I
don't have to type it in.  I'll put up with the tedium and thank Ken Steele,
the Oxford Text Archive, and everyone else concerned with helping to procure
the availability of these electronic texts at a low price.
 
     On another matter, bravo on the storm coming up during Iago's I,iii
speech.  Many Shakespearean sequences invite such juxtaposition.  I did the
same sort of thing in *Lear*, bringing the storm up gradually as Lear began
talking about becoming a comrade with the wolf in II,iv.  In a similar vein,
scenes can visually recall each other, just as they do verbally.  Can't the
blocking and action of Hotspur and his buddies playing with the map remind
the spectators of the blocking and action of Hal and his buddies playing with
the Gadshill spoils?
 
David Richman
University of New Hampshire
 

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