Free Materials For Teachers
Image©2008 ABS Cartoon computer ponders the pronunciation of javelina
How Should I Pronounce That?

Text-To-Speech is a powerful computer option, particularly valuable for struggling readers and students with visual issues.  Once and while though, you’ll hear a word pronounced incorrectly, most often a proper name or a technical term.  You can correct the pronunciation of a word in Clicker 5®, IntelliTools Classroom Suite®, and My Own Bookshelf®.  The exact path for this procedure is different in each application, but the principle is the same.

For all three applications, the pronunciation you hear depends on the operating system, and which speech engine(s) have been installed.  Because the pronunciation information resides in the lexicon for each application, there is no way to attach this information to an individual grid set, activity or book.  You’ll have to make the change within the application on each computer where it’s installed.  However, since editing pronunciation is in a separate part of the application, you could enter a whole list of words and their changed pronunciations, one after another, all in one session.

I’ll use the procedure in Classroom Suite as the example, because the path there is the most straightforward.

Image©2008 ABS Screen shot shows Options menu, Speech, and the submenu with Edit Pronunciation
Opening Pronunciation Editing in Classroom Suite

It’s a little more involved to get to the editing window in Clicker 5 and My Own Bookshelf, and the phonetics used in Clicker 5 are actual phonemes.  So for those applications, I’ve made PDF files you can download from this post that include screenshots and detailed instructions.  The following steps, though, will give you a good idea of what’s involved, since the general strategy is the same for all three applications.

General Strategy For Editing Pronunciation
First, you run the application, and open an activity.  It could be any activity, even a blank new document. From the Options menu, choose Speech, and Edit Pronunciation. This opens the editing window.

Next, type in the word or phrase that has been reading out incorrectly.  In this example, I’ve used javelina, which was reading out as jayve-lina.  I can type my best guess for a phonetic spelling into the Pronounced As window, and then click the Say It button to hear the result. By trial and error, I found that hava-leena came fairly close to the correct pronunciation.

Don’t Forget to Add the Change!

Image©2008 ABS the pronunciation editing dialog with javelina and its phonetic spelling, hava-leena
Type the word, and below it type what it should sound like.
The final, and most important step in this process for all three applications is to actually add the changed pronunciation to the saved lexicon. For Classroom Suite, I would click the Add button to do this. Then I could go ahead and change another word, if I had a list of several words to change.

The result is that the word or words I changed will be pronounced as I specified in any activity on the computer where I made the change.  But if I had Classroom Suite on multiple computers, I’d need to repeat the changes on each one.  You also would have to do the change twice for the lowercase and capitalized form of the word.

Multiple Speech Engines Require Multiple Changes

One more thing to look for is multiple speech engines. For example, on Windows, there are a set of voices controlled by the default speech engine.  But Classroom Suite v. 3.2 on Windows has an additional set of voices by Acapela® that can be installed.  Clicker 5 also has the Acapela voices, and Classroom Suite v. 4 has a different set of extra voices for Windows, by Pentax NeoSpeech®. There are also other speech engines available, including some for proper Spanish pronunciation, each with voices.

If you were using one of these other voices and changed the word javelina to correct its pronunciation, you might be surprised to find it still reading out wrong if you later changed to one of the Microsoft® voices.  But Microsoft® voices really do use a different source of information than that for the other speech engine, so it makes sense that they would not have the changed pronunciation recorded.  All you would have to do is make the same change with any of the Microsoft voices chosen, and then all those voices would also pronounce the word correctly in any Classroom Suite activity on the computer where you made the changes.

Clicker 5 and My Own Bookshelf
The procedure for My Own Bookshelf is almost exactly the same as for Classroom Suite, but the editing window is buried a little deeper into the application.  For Clicker 5, there is a way to open the Acapela lexicon application from within Clicker 5, and then you’ll need to use some ingenuity to determine the correct phonetic coding.  But screenshots and step by step directions make the process easy. Download the PDF file for either of these applications, and you’ll soon have your computer reading correctly!

Application needed: Clicker 5, Classroom Suite, My Own Bookshelf, Acrobat Reader
Subject area: Technical tip.
Level: Teacher/Author.


ChangePronunClicker.pdf (495.2 KB) Changing Pronunciation in Clicker 5 instructions to print. Screen shots walk you through! Acrobat Reader.

Changing Pronunciation In Clicker online. Online tutorial ready to present to groups. Screen shots walk you through!

EditPronunciationMBS.pdf (506.6 KB) Editing Pronunciation in My Own Bookshelf instructions to print. Screen shots walk you through! Acrobat Reader.

November 17th, 2008 at 5:18 pm


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