# How do I change the way Mathematica pronounces English words (e.g. “futile” is not pronounced correctly)?

I am absolutely desperate. I cannot get my Borg to pronounce "futile" correctly.

Speak["Resistance is futile."]


Leo pronounces "futile" as expected and there is no indication that this word is pronounced differently in the US and the UK. I have also tried various incorrect spellings but with no real success.

Is it actually possible to install and use other speakers? Are there means to adapt the pronounciation of specific words or phrases?

EDIT: Question 1: "few-tile" and "hoss-tile" as suggested below sound very good on my computer. Fact is, "futile" and "hostile" are not pronounced incorrectly but do follow the American pronounciation. We are probably spoiled by British actors (Patrick Steward) mingling in American series. Believe it or not, I watched the "Scorpion" episode (species 8472 appears for first time) of ST-TNG and yes, Data and Geordie use American pronounciation.

EDIT: Question 2: Mathematica resorts to the default "voice" installed in the (in my case) Windows 7 set-up. Adaptions such as speaker's speed are also inherited by Mathematica.

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You might try making this question more general, e.g. how to get alternative pronunciations for any word, or way to have a series of sound symbols (by that I mean the IPA or similar) pronounced. Incidentally you will find the shorter pronunciation listed first in many American dictionaries, at least based on a quick survey of those available on line. (try onelook.com) –  Mr.Wizard Mar 2 '13 at 18:09
Collins collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/futile confirms the expected pronounciation. –  Ernst Stelzer Mar 2 '13 at 18:26
Is it just me, or is this both off topic and too localized? But at lest it's fun:) –  Ajasja Mar 2 '13 at 22:03
Mathematica uses the system's default voice. How to change that is operating system dependent. I did change mine to a British voice (Daniel) on OS X a while ago, just to get Mathematica to announce when it's done with a computation in a nicer voice :-) It also pronounces "futile" the way you'd expect. –  Szabolcs Mar 2 '13 at 23:36
@Mr.Wizard Just a side comment: writing precise IPA is a lot more difficult than what you'd expect. The technical term is "narrow transcription". What dictionaries use is a phonemic (not phonetic), or "wide" transcription. In wide transcription the same IPA symbol is actually meant to be pronounced differently depending on what it's surrounded by in the word, and depending on which language is being transcribed. So it's only unambiguous if we have the extra information that what we're reading is English. –  Szabolcs Mar 2 '13 at 23:40

I always thought what the borg were saying is this:

Speak["Resistance is few-tile."]

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A brilliant work-around. The orthography is deteriorating but the pronounciation is improving. –  Ernst Stelzer Mar 2 '13 at 18:25
And this way you can teach it German, too: Speak["Eeck been eyen berleener."] –  Jens Mar 2 '13 at 18:44
I have not heard about Borgs in Berlin, but then who was JFK? –  Ernst Stelzer Mar 2 '13 at 18:51
What about "fewtiile" –  Rojo Mar 2 '13 at 19:10
@Rojo On my system that sounds wrong. But I mainly like few-tile because I could imagine some borg zen master saying that with a deep hidden philosophical meaning... –  Jens Mar 2 '13 at 19:30

On OS X, if I change the voice in System Preferences, quit and restart Mathematica, the voice used by Mathematica changes to the newly selected voice.

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After doing this, "futile" is pronounced as desired, as is "z" ("zed" not "zee"), for instance. So it looks like this solves the problem, +1 –  acl Mar 2 '13 at 23:27
Doesn't the result depend on the particular voice (and English region)? –  David Carraher Mar 2 '13 at 23:41

Speak["Resistance izfiyuwtile."]

Speak["Rezistance iz feu-tile."]