Java Speech Development Kit: A Tutorial

The authors show how to get started developing voice-activated interfaces using the Speech for Java Development Kit.
Java Speech Markup Language

Java Speech Markup Language (JSML) is a markup language derived from XML and is used to describe an audio entrance in the synthesizers of the API. Its elements are able to supply detailed information about how to pronounce the text provided to the synthesizer. These elements describe the structure of a document (paragraphs, phrases), the words pronounced, text markers and prosodic elements that control phrasing, emphasis, pitch, speaking rate and other important characteristics. Appropriate markup of text improves the quality and naturalness of the synthesized voice.

JSML is used as arguments to the synthesizers and can be accessed through one of the forms of the method speak. It might be provided in a text file with the JSML formatted text or in small phrases as arguments for the method. Table 4 shows the JSML tags:

Table 2. JSML Tags





Determines that the marked text must be pronounced as a paragraph.

<PARA>This is a short paragraph.</PARA> <PARA>The subject has changed, so this is a new paragraph.</PARA>


Determines that the marked text must be pronounced as a phrase.

<PARA><SENT>So long.</SENT><SENT>See you later.</SENT></PARA>


Specifies how the marked text must be read.

<SAYAS SUB="0x0">zero draw</SAYAS>


Determines the emphasis of the pronounce. The values might be: "strong", "moderate", "none", or "reduced".

<EMP LEVEL="reduced">Whispering is not polite.</EMP>


Determines a stop during synthesis. Milliseconds or size can be used: "none", "small", "medium", or "large".

<BREAK MSECS="300"/> or <BREAK SIZE="small"/>


Determines the speech properties: volume (VOL absolute number between 0.0 and 1.0), rhythm (RATE in words per minute), frequency (PITCH in hertz), frequency interval (RANGE in hertz).

<PROS RATE= "50" VOL="+80%">Í'll repeat loud and clear, just one more time. </PROS>


When this tag is reached a markerReached event is triggered, this might be interpreted by a SpeakableListener. A tag MARKER can be positioned anywhere in the JSML text, making it possible to monitor the whole text being pronounced.

Answer <MARKER MARK="yes_no"/> yes or no.


Provides information to the synthesizer identified by the ENGID, that will pronounce what is defined by the DATA parameter. If the synthesizer is not available, the marked text will be pronounced instead.

The frog does <ENGINE ENGID= "Frog_Sint1.0" DATA="ribbit=1"> improper synthesizer</ENGINE>

Example Code


The recognizers are the entities responsible for speech recognition. They are created through the Central class and are initialized using the allocate method. They process the audio entering in parallel to the main application.

The recognition is done with the help of a set of words that limit the universe of possibilities that can be pronounced by the user. These sets are extensible, and new words can be added, increasing the application functionality. The sets are known as grammars, and it is necessary to have at least one grammar associated with each recognizer.

When audio enters the recognizers, they try to determine an association between the spoken words and their associated grammars. The recognition process culminates on the creation of objects named results. Results have types ACCEPTED or REJECTED accordingly to the confidence level determined by the setConfidenceLevel method (the default value is 0.5).

Creating a Voice Recognizer

In the same way as the synthesizers, the recognizers are created through the Central class in two possible ways:

1. Accessing the recognizer's default implementation that better fits the current locale. It is the simplest manner and the most common:

                 Recognizer recognizer =

Example Code

2. Accessing a recognizer that satisfies predetermined conditions, this method is used in cases where there are more than one recognizer implementation available. The required parameters are:

  • name of the engine

  • name of the mode in which it will be used

  • a locale supported by the engine

  • a Boolean value, a control flag of the engine

  • a Boolean value, indicating whether the recognizer supports dictation grammar

  • an array of SpeakerProfile objects

Any of the parameters might be null, and the Central class will try to make the best choice for them. These parameters are defined via a RecognizerModeDesc object, as shown here:

 RecognizerModeDesc(String engine, String mode, Locale locale, Boolean running,
 Boolean dictationGrammarSupported, SpeakerProfile[] profiles)

Example Code



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Reference Links are Dead

Gobinath's picture

hi there
this is a very nice article. i really liked it and i planned to implement this in my project but unfortunately all the references links are dead.

kindly help me out . u can reach me at

any help will be of great help..


Reference Links are Dead

Gobinath's picture

hi there
this is a very nice article. i really liked it and i planned to implement this in my project but unfortunately all the references links are dead.

kindly help me out . u can reach me at

any help will be of great help..


This is really useful. I

siva's picture

This is really useful. I successfully completed my project voice controlled wheel chair with the help of this concept... It works well....

Re: Java Speech Development Kit: A Tutorial

Anonymous's picture

Is there lib to use text to speak in portuguese language ?

Re: Java Speech Development Kit: A Tutorial

Anonymous's picture

i have read your tutorial about the Java Speech Development Kit, it is truely very interesting, i would realy love to develop a programe of my own on this context. please help me im a graduate from the University of Botswana in Computer Science in Botswana, i realy ineterested in speech program but i dont know where to start and what i need. more especialy that i dont have any of the classies that i can use for statup training plz give me an advice.

my Email is

thank you in advace

Moathodi Excellent Matikiti

Re: Java Speech Development Kit: A Tutorial

Anonymous's picture

I am in the same situation as Moathodi, were I would like to develope a program on this subject. I would really appreciate it if you could aid me in kicking it of as I am not sure were to start.

My email is

Many Thanks


Speech recognition engines

Mario's picture

I have done a lot of research on the speech development architecture of java..but i am more interested in some package that might make the development of a speech to text application faster. Thanx...hope i get a emaill is

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