Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system System
This isn't really a hint as much as it is an amusing OS X glitch that I've never seen documented. I don't know how long this has been present, as I just discovered it recently.

If you use the speech service (whether through the Services menu, the say Terminal command, or an application) to speak the word bullfrog, OS X says bullfrogs. If you instead have the system speak bullfrogs, it says bullfrog.

What an odd little thing.
    •    
  • Currently 1.50 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (10 votes cast)
 
[11,765 views]  

Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system | 26 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: juanfal on Mar 16, '09 07:41:33AM

Not mine. Mine (I use it a lot, since I need to listen to the english pronunciation of that for me foreign language rather frequently) works incredibly well.




[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: outofcontrol on Mar 16, '09 07:58:19AM

On my iMac running OS X 10.5.6 I get the anomaly. Interestingly say "bulfrog" and say "bulfrogs" works properly.

An Easter Egg?

---
Find Mac Stuff - Your Mac product homepage finder



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: ctierney on Mar 16, '09 08:03:10AM

Mine works as expected on 10.3.9. Maybe it's something new.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: Auricchio on Mar 16, '09 08:16:02AM

Mine works properly on 10.5.6.

---
EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: giulio on Mar 16, '09 08:17:08AM

And if you tell it to say "Bud Wise" it says "err".

---
Freelance web development
WebVeteran.com



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: LordBrian on Mar 16, '09 08:19:47AM

Yes switches them on mine 10.5.6 Macbook Pro



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: vincentdavis on Mar 16, '09 08:21:07AM

Using 10.5.6 I get this special feature using terminal.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Some observations
Authored by: Mike Perry on Mar 16, '09 08:39:05AM

I use speech-to-text to proof books at about 200 wpm and i come across something that's misread about every fifteen minutes or so. Many seem to be dropped words or slight mispronunciations ("not" for "now" or vice-versa) when reading a long section, mistakes that don't repeat when reading again or reading just a phrase. And it seems to have gotten much worse with 10.5, the very version where they enhanced text-to-speech.

I get the impression that the parsing is driven by the wpm speed. If time gets short, to keep up that speed it drops a word or pronounces some similar word instead. That explains why it can be erratic. That can also be frustrating, since it means users are forced to stop and check something that isn't wrong or, in the case of the visually impaired, hear something different from the original. (It's easy to imagine a not/now mispronunciation radically altering the meaning.)

The UI for text-to-speech is also poor. An old Classic program, Tex-Edit, did text-to-speech right. It defaulted to reading starting at the cursor and continuing until stopped (easily) by the user. It also moved the displayed text and highlighted what was being read.

Unfortunately, Tex-Edit isn't keeping up with OS X and is getting a bit quirky, so there's no application I know of that does text-to-speech good enough for proofing. Over time, you can learn to tell the difference in pause between a comma and a period, but it'd be great to have a text-to-speech reader than could read out punctuation. Eyes can grow tired trying to spot the difference between a semicolon and a colon.

Most developers of text applications are limited by what Cocoa Text can do. Unfortunately, Apple seems to be more intent on mimicking Microsoft Word when they enhance Cocoa Text than in coming up with really creative and impressive enhancements. InDesign users love the GREP search and replace that was added in CS3. It wouldn't be that hard to add GREP to Cocoa Text and thus to most OS X text applications. And Apple could enhance stock GREP by added S&R templates that users could use across multiple applications and pass on to others.





[ Reply to This | # ]
Some observations
Authored by: auco on Mar 17, '09 03:47:10AM

hm... what do you need the highlight for? If someone reads for you, I cannot see the point why you want to read along with it.
Anyway, if you install the Developer Tools, there's an application that you might like: /Developer/Examples/Speech/Synthesis/SpeechSynthesisExample



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: wsdr on Mar 16, '09 08:51:20AM

It makes the mistake on my MacBook Pro 17 w/10.5.6

Here are some fun sentences to have it try. Make sure you are using Alex in your Text-to-speech prefs. Just drag-highlight the text below, then go to Safari (or FireFox, etc)-->Services-->Speech-->Start Speaking Text

My name is Dr. Smith and I live on Smith Dr.
I refuse to take away your refuse.
Wind in the kite, the wind is too strong.
Steve wound up with a wound on his arm.
Good farms produce a lot of produce.
I project that this project will go way over budget.
Close the car door, we are too close to the bridge.
I object to this object being on my desk.
It is an abuse of the system to abuse your privileges.
Along with my affiliate Mr. Jones, I am vowing never to affiliate with criminals.
In a home for the aged, it is not advisable to serve aged cheese.
Bronze is a metal alloy, but one should not alloy bleach with window cleaner.
If you take the alternate route you will need to alternate drivers.
Please consider the approximate value of my car when you approximate the cost of repairs.
We can attribute the winning of the game to John's speed, which truly is his best attribute.
The bass singer caught the biggest bass.
The powder in my compact has become too compact.
The Polish maid was assigned to polish the silver.
It is much rainier on the slopes of Mt. Rainier.
The soldier decided to desert his post by running into the desert.
The restaurant's tantalizing buffet was enough to buffet my resolve to diet.
Always stand close to the door when it is time to close the store.
Please excuse me while I think of an excuse.
The button was so minute that it was a minute before I found it.
It is the referee's job to record the new world record.
To contest the issue they held a contest.
John became a convert after deciding to convert to Judaism.
If I need a duplicate I can use the Xerox to duplicate the letter.
The guard will permit you to pass if you show a valid permit.
A rebel is one who has decided to rebel.
Please put my typewriter to use because I never use it.
Everything I know I learned from that learned old man.
I want you to separate the cards into two separate piles.
The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

We must polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

I did not object to the object.

They were too close to the door to close it.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Apple's text to speech software took years to perfect, but eventually it was perfect.


---
--
http://billread.blogspot.com/



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: asmeurer on Mar 16, '09 01:17:30PM

Amazing. I always thought Alex was somewhat overrated, but he pronounced all of these correctly, except for Mt. Rainier (unless I'm pronouncing that one wrong). And for "Bullfrog/bullfrogs", it doesn't matter which voice you use. All 24 voices included with Leopard speak the wrong one.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: jimhoyt on Mar 16, '09 02:38:34PM

I'm familiar with the mountain and, to my aging ears, the name was pronounced correctly.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: kyncaith on Mar 23, '09 10:13:52AM

Most locals pronounce it something like ruh-near (emphasis on second syllable) or sometimes ray-near. The Alex voice seems to get it fairly close.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: snit on Mar 16, '09 02:53:29PM

Really is amazing how well it handles all of that.

I just tried one:

Was the red book read or do we need to read it?

Seems it is not perfect.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: auco on Mar 17, '09 03:57:55AM

Apple Speech can even do more!
try reading this (Alex is glitching a bit at the end, but older voices like Fred do it well:

[[inpt TUNE]]
2EH {D 2500; P 600.0:0 400.0:50 100.0:100}

[[inpt PHON]]
@1AEplIHk2EYSIXn. [[slnc 100]]
@2AEplIHk1EYSIXn.
[[inpt TEXT]]



[ Reply to This | # ]
Better than many humans
Authored by: chrisfriend on Mar 17, '09 02:55:22PM

Great sample sentences. Those really show off the intuitive code behind the voices.

I teach 15-year-olds, and I think they've just been made obsolete. :-) Software can now read more accurately than they can.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Better than many humans
Authored by: kyncaith on Mar 23, '09 10:16:58AM

I teach freshman at a university, and many of them can't read this well.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: masroor on Mar 16, '09 09:25:32AM

I tried "bullfrogs" and it said "bullfrog" and on "bullfrog" it said "bullfrogs". :-)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: mistersquid on Mar 16, '09 09:47:13AM

OS X v. 10.5.6 on a MacBook Air and a G5 using Alex and both systems exhibit the same anomaly. Hilarious!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: njpomeroy on Mar 16, '09 09:57:35AM
A suggestion:
http://bugreport.apple.com/

Write a bug, watch it get fixed (or deferred forever. ;-) ).

[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: Cantus on Mar 16, '09 03:56:20PM

I can confirm this on my Intel iMac (Aug. 2008), Mac OS X 10.5.6.



[ Reply to This | # ]
August 2007, that is.
Authored by: Cantus on Mar 16, '09 09:06:18PM

August 2007, that is.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: MartiNZ on Mar 16, '09 08:39:41PM

I find random things like this very interesting.

I used to run iChat for MSN through a Jabber transport, and had it read messages. A colleague of mine used to often say 'okily' instead of okay.

Interestingly in just having Alex say that on 10.5.6 it has changed at some 10.5.x point - it used to say okay-one-ly, presumably somewhere somehow reading the 'i' as a 1. Now it says 'oh-kylie' which is closer, but still no cigar.



[ Reply to This | # ]
It happens for me
Authored by: bedouin on Mar 17, '09 01:27:42AM

I used the say command in Terminal and the singular and plural are switched. PPC running 10.5.6. Maybe language settings affect whether this happens or not? I'm using Arabic and English on my machine.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: KuroRai on Mar 18, '09 10:40:45PM

Hmm, I never realised that.

It does make mistakes every often, but it at least doesn't sound ocmpletly like the drone of a windows computer. :P.

Try this…

say hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager hanamkadantigojoyumtager



[ Reply to This | # ]
Hear an odd anomaly in the OS X speech system
Authored by: kyncaith on Mar 23, '09 10:32:56AM

In VoiceOver, there is a way to correct these errors (at least in Leopard).

Go to System Preferences->Universal Access->Seeing Tab->Open VoiceOver Utility...->Speech->Pronunciation Tab

Click on the Add (+) button.

Enter the Text to correct in the Text field (in this case bullfrog).
Enter a phonetic pronunciation in Pronunciation field (I typed in bulfrog, one L).
Name the group you want to add it to in the Group field (I made a group named Corrected Speech).
Keep All applications selected in the Application drop down box.
Keep Ignore Case checked.
Click Save.

You can then do the same for bullfrogs (using bulfrogs for the pronunciation).

The downside is that this only works through the VoiceOver utility. If you are using the Start Speaking Text through the services menu, it doesn't seem to access the VoiceOver utilities pronunciations. At least I couldn't get it to work for me.

At least the VoiceOver works, which is good for the visually impaired, of course.




[ Reply to This | # ]