1

I wrote:

The program selects a word from the word list and speaks it load in a native accent. The user must type the word in a text box.

First I want to know can I use "speak" for the computer program?

Second, is it better to use "dictates a word to the user in a native accent"?

  • As long as it is speech, sure. The proper form would be "speaks it out loud". – user3169 Feb 27 '16 at 19:29
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The program selects a word from the word list and speaks it load in a native accent. The user must type the word in a text box.

As has been pointed out, what you would be looking for here is speaks it out loud, which can be shortened to speaks it aloud.

@Arulkumar's answer suggests "reads aloud". I've suggested that's not specific enough, and that you really should say "reads it aloud". One thing that makes it important to be clear is that you usually think of "reading" as something which is done at with more than just one word. So it's good to be specific in the cases where it's more narrow.

If it were reduced down to just:

  1. The program selects a word from the word list and speaks it.
  2. The program selects a word from the word list and reads it.
  3. The program selects a word from the word list and says it.

Both "reading" and "saying" are things that can be done silently ("The newspaper says...", "When I give my friend a book, she reads it.") This makes "speaks it" look like the clearest--which it is--but to my eyes the word "speak" seems awkward without "out loud" or "aloud". (I don't know if there's any rule for why that would be, it's just how I feel about it.)

Though "reads" and "says" can be used to mean either silent or vocalized, the "default" for reading is silent, and the "default" for saying is out loud. So if it were just between the three above, I would likely choose #3.

That leaning would persist even as I added more words to make it clear it wasn't "saying" it by printing it on the screen. Certainly "says it in a native accent" is sufficient to supply the context. Putting in aloud is optional, but can't hurt:

  • "The program selects a word from the word list and says it aloud in a native accent."

But with all those words in there, "says" or "speaks" or "reads" would be pretty much equal here.

  • Thank you for your complete answer, but "say", "speak" to me are verbs that we attribute to human, then I wondered if I can apply them to computers?! or maybe there are some specific words to be used for computers. – Ahmad Mar 7 '16 at 5:22
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Instead of speaks, please consider reads. Screen reader tools are used to read out the content to the users.

So you can write:

The program selects a word from the word list and reads aloud in a native accent. The user must type the word in a text box.

  • 1
    Thanks, "reads aloud" or "reads it aloud"? – Ahmad Feb 27 '16 at 19:46
  • I tried with Google Ngram viewer, it also suggested "reads aloud". – Arulkumar Feb 27 '16 at 20:05
  • @Ahmad They would be used in different contexts, and in this context "reads it aloud" is the clearer choice. "reads aloud" leans on context more; it doesn't specify what's being read closely enough. "This advanced dictionary program uses speech synthesis to tell you the definition of a word. The program selects a word from the word list and reads aloud in a native accent." The reader would intuit that meant it reads the definition, not the word...while "reads it aloud" would still indicate it's reading just the word. – HostileFork Feb 27 '16 at 20:09

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