Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) Reference

When the service for your skill returns a response to a user’s request, you provide text that the Alexa service converts to speech. Alexa automatically handles normal punctuation, such as pausing after a period, or speaking a sentence ending in a question mark as a question.

However, in some cases you may want additional control over how Alexa generates the speech from the text in your response. For example, you may want a longer pause within the speech, or you may want a string of digits read back as a standard telephone number. The Alexa Skills Kit provides this type of control with Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) support.

SSML is a markup language that provides a standard way to mark up text for the generation of synthetic speech. The Alexa Skills Kit supports a subset of the tags defined in the SSML specification. The specific tags supported are listed in Supported SSML Tags.

Using SSML in Your Response

To use SSML, construct your output speech using the supported SSML tags. When sending back a response from your service, you must indicate that it is using SSML rather than plain text:

  • When using the Java library, use the SsmlOutputSpeech class. Call the setSsml() method and pass in the output speech marked up with the tags.
  • When not using the Java library, provide the marked-up text in the outputSpeech property, but set the type to SSML instead of PlainText. Use the ssml property instead of text for the marked-up text:
"outputSpeech": {
    "type": "SSML",
    "ssml": "<speak>This output speech uses SSML.</speak>"
}
  • You can use SSML with both the normal output speech response and any re-prompt included in the response.

The SSML you provide must be wrapped within <speak> tags. For example:

<speak>
    Here is a number <w role="amazon:VBD">read</w> 
    as a cardinal number: 
    <say-as interpret-as="cardinal">12345</say-as>. 
    Here is a word spelled out: 
    <say-as interpret-as="spell-out">hello</say-as>. 
</speak>

Supported SSML Tags

The Alexa Skills Kit supports the following SSML tags (listed in alphabetic order):

The remaining sections describe each of these tags.

Note that the Alexa service strips out any unsupported SSML tags included in the text you provide.

amazon:effect

Applies Amazon-specific effects to the speech.

Attribute Possible Values

name

The name of the effect to apply to the speech. Available effects:

  • whispered: Applies a whispering effect to the speech.
<speak>
    I want to tell you a secret. 
    <amazon:effect name="whispered">I am not a real human.</amazon:effect>.
    Can you believe it?
</speak>

audio

The audio tag lets you provide the URL for an MP3 file that the Alexa service can play while rendering a response. You can use this to embed short, pre-recorded audio within your service’s response. For example, you could include sound effects alongside your text-to-speech responses, or provide responses using a voice associated with your brand. For more information, see Including Short Pre-Recorded Audio in your Response.

Attribute Possible Values

src

Specifies the URL for the MP3 file. Note the following requirements and limitations:

  • The MP3 must be hosted at an Internet-accessible HTTPS endpoint. HTTPS is required, and the domain hosting the MP3 file must present a valid, trusted SSL certificate. Self-signed certificates cannot be used.
  • The MP3 must not contain any customer-specific or other sensitive information.
  • The MP3 must be a valid MP3 file (MPEG version 2).
  • The audio file cannot be longer than ninety (90) seconds.
  • The bit rate must be 48 kbps. Note that this bit rate gives a good result when used with spoken content, but is generally not a high enough quality for music.
  • The sample rate must be 16000 Hz.

You may need to use converter software to convert your MP3 files to the required codec version (MPEG version 2) and bit rate (48 kbps).

Include the audio tag within your text-to-speech response within the speak tag. Alexa plays the MP3 at the specified point within the text to speech. For example:

<speak>
    Welcome to Car-Fu. 
    <audio src="https://carfu.com/audio/carfu-welcome.mp3" /> 
    You can order a ride, or request a fare estimate. 
    Which will it be?
</speak> 

When Alexa renders this response, it would sound like this:

Alexa: Welcome to Car-Fu.
(the specified carfu-welcome.mp3 audio file plays)
Alexa: You can order a ride, or request a fare estimate. Which will it be?

A single response sent by your service can include multiple audio tags according to the following limits:

  • No more than five audio files can be used in a single response.
  • The combined total time for all audio files in a single response cannot be more than ninety (90) seconds.

Converting Audio Files to an Alexa-Friendly Format

You may need to use converter software to convert your MP3 files to the required codec version (MPEG version 2) and bit rate (48 kbps). One option for this is a command-line tool, FFmpeg. The following command converts the provided <input-file> to an MP3 file that works with the audio tag.

ffmpeg -i <input-file> -ac 2 -codec:a libmp3lame -b:a 48k -ar 16000 <output-file.mp3>

Another option is Audacity:

  1. Open the file to convert.
  2. Set the Project Rate in the lower-left corner to 16000.
  3. Click File > Export Audio and change the Save as type to MP3 Files.
  4. Click Options, set the Quality to 48 kbps and the Bit Rate Mode to Constant.

This requires the Lame library, which can be found at: http://lame.buanzo.org/#lamewindl.

Hosting the Audio Files for Your Skill

The MP3 files you use to provide audio must be hosted on an endpoint that uses HTTPS. The endpoint must provide an SSL certificate signed by an Amazon-approved certificate authority. Many content hosting services provide this. For example, you could host your files at a service such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) (an Amazon Web Services offering).

We don’t require that you authenticate the requests for the audio files. Therefore, you must not include any customer-specific or sensitive information in these audio files. For example, building a custom MP3 file in response to a user’s request, and including sensitive information within the audio, is not allowed.

break

Represents a pause in the speech. Set the length of the pause with the strength or time attributes.

Attribute Possible Values

strength

  • none: No pause should be outputted. This can be used to remove a pause that would normally occur (such as after a period).
  • x-weak: No pause should be outputted (same as none).
  • weak: Treat adjacent words as if separated by a single comma (equivalent to medium).
  • medium: Treat adjacent words as if separated by a single comma.
  • strong: Make a sentence break (equivalent to using the <s> tag).
  • x-strong: Make a paragraph break (equivalent to using the <p> tag).

time

Duration of the pause; up to 10 seconds (10s) or 10000 milliseconds (10000ms). Include the unit with the time (s or ms).

The default is medium. This is used if you don’t specify any attributes, or if you provide any unsupported attribute values.

<speak>
    There is a three second pause here <break time="3s"/> 
    then the speech continues.
</speak> 

emphasis

Emphasize the tagged words or phrases. Emphasis changes rate and volume of the speech. More emphasis is spoken louder and slower. Less emphasis is quieter and faster.

Attribute Possible Values

level

  • strong: Increase the volume and slow down the speaking rate so the speech is louder and slower.
  • moderate: Increase the volume and slow down the speaking rate, but not as much as when set to strong. This is used as a default if level is not provided.
  • reduced: Decrease the volume and speed up the speaking rate. The speech is softer and faster.
<speak>
    I already told you I 
    <emphasis level="strong">really like</emphasis> 
    that person.
</speak> 

p

Represents a paragraph. This tag provides extra-strong breaks before and after the tag. This is equivalent to specifying a pause with <break strength="x-strong"/>.

<speak>                                         
    <p>This is the first paragraph. There should be a pause after this text is spoken.</p>       
    <p>This is the second paragraph.</p> 
</speak>                                        

phoneme

Provides a phonemic/phonetic pronunciation for the contained text. For example, people may pronounce words like “pecan” differently.

Attribute Possible Values

alphabet

Set to the phonetic alphabet to use:

  • ipa: The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
  • x-sampa: The Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet (X-SAMPA).

ph

The phonetic pronunciation to speak.

See below for a list of supported symbols in each of the supported skill languages.

When using this tag, Alexa uses the pronunciation provided in the ph attribute rather than the text contained within the tag. However, you should still provide human-readable text within the tags. In the following example, the word “pecan” shown within the tags is never spoken. Instead, Alexa speaks the text provided in the ph attribute:

<speak>
    You say, <phoneme alphabet="ipa" ph="pɪˈkɑːn">pecan</phoneme>. 
    I say, <phoneme alphabet="ipa" ph="ˈpi.kæn">pecan</phoneme>.
</speak> 

Additional examples of writing words with a phonetic alphabet:

Word IPA X-SAMPA
bottle ˈbɑ.təl "bA.t@l
frozen ˈfɹoʊ.zən "fr\oU.z@n
blossom ˈblɑ.səm "blA.s@m

Supported Symbols

The following tables list the supported symbols for use with the phoneme tag. The symbols are specific to the skill’s language.

These symbols provide full coverage for the sounds of English (US). Other languages require the use of symbols not included in this list, which are not supported. Using symbols not included in this list for English (US) skills is discouraged, as it may result in suboptimal speech synthesis.

Consonants
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
b b voiced bilabial plosive bed
d d voiced alveolar plosive dig
d͡ʒ dZ voiced postalveolar affricate jump
ð D voiced dental fricative then
f f voiceless labiodental fricative five
g g voiced velar plosive game
h h voiceless glottal fricative house
j j palatal approximant yes
k k voiceless velar plosive cat
l l alveolar lateral approximant lay
m m bilabial nasal mouse
n n alveolar nasal nap
ŋ N velar nasal thing
p p voiceless bilabial plosive speak
ɹ r\ alveolar approximant red
s s voiceless alveolar fricative seem
ʃ S voiceless postalveolar fricative ship
t t voiceless alveolar plosive trap
t͡ʃ tS voiceless postalveolar affricate chart
θ T voiceless dental fricative thin
v v voiced labiodental fricative vest
w w labial-velar approximant west
z z voiced alveolar fricative zero
ʒ Z voiced postalveolar fricative vision
Vowels
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ə @ mid central vowel arena
ɚ @` mid central r-colored vowel reader
æ { near-open front unrounded vowel trap
aI diphthong price
aU diphthong mouth
ɑ A long open back unrounded vowel father
eI diphthong face
ɝ 3` open-mid central unrounded r-colored vowel nurse
ɛ E open-mid front unrounded vowel dress
i i long close front unrounded vowel fleece
ɪ I near-close near-front unrounded vowel kit
oU diphthong goat
ɔ O long open-mid back rounded vowel thought
ɔɪ OI diphthong choice
u u long close back rounded vowel goose
ʊ U near-close near-back rounded vowel foot
ʌ V open-mid back unrounded vowel strut
Additional Symbols
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ˈ " primary stress Alabama
ˌ % secondary stress Alabama
. . syllable boundary A.la.ba.ma

These symbols provide full coverage for the sounds of English (UK). Other languages require the use of symbols not included in this list, which are not supported. Using symbols not included in this list for English (UK) skills is discouraged, as it may result in suboptimal speech synthesis.

Consonants
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
b b voiced bilabial plosive bed
d d voiced alveolar plosive dig
d͡ʒ dZ voiced postalveolar affricate jump
ð D voiced dental fricative then
f f voiceless labiodental fricative five
g g voiced velar plosive game
h h voiceless glottal fricative house
j j palatal approximant yes
k k voiceless velar plosive cat
l l alveolar lateral approximant lay
m m bilabial nasal mouse
n n alveolar nasal nap
ŋ N velar nasal thing
p p voiceless bilabial plosive speak
ɹ r\ alveolar approximant red
s s voiceless alveolar fricative seem
ʃ S voiceless postalveolar fricative ship
t t voiceless alveolar plosive trap
t͡ʃ tS voiceless postalveolar affricate chart
θ T voiceless dental fricative thin
v v voiced labiodental fricative vest
w w labial-velar approximant west
z z voiced alveolar fricative zero
ʒ Z voiced postalveolar fricative vision
Vowels
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ə @ mid central vowel arena
æ { near-open front unrounded vowel trap
aI diphthong price
aU diphthong mouth
ɑ A long open back unrounded vowel father
eI diphthong face
ɜ 3 open-mid central unrounded vowel nurse
ɛ E open-mid front unrounded vowel dress
i i long close front unrounded vowel fleece
ɪ I near-close near-front unrounded vowel kit
əʊ @U diphthong goat
ɔ O long open-mid back rounded vowel thought
ɔɪ OI diphthong choice
u u long close back rounded vowel goose
ʊ U near-close near-back rounded vowel foot
ʌ V open-mid back unrounded vowel strut
ɒ Q open back rounded vowel bother
ɛə E@ diphthong bear
ɪə I@ diphthong beer
ʊə U@ diphthong tour
Additional Symbols
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ˈ " primary stress Alabama
ˌ % secondary stress Alabama
. . syllable boundary A.la.ba.ma

These symbols provide full coverage for the sounds of English (India). Other languages require the use of symbols not included in this list, which are not supported. Using symbols not included in this list for English (India) skills is discouraged, as it may result in suboptimal speech synthesis.

Consonants
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
b b voiced bilabial plosive bed
d d voiced alveolar plosive dig
d͡ʒ dZ voiced postalveolar affricate jump
ð D voiced dental fricative then
f f voiceless labiodental fricative five
g g voiced velar plosive game
h h voiceless glottal fricative house
j j palatal approximant yes
k k voiceless velar plosive cat
l l alveolar lateral approximant lay
m m bilabial nasal mouse
n n alveolar nasal nap
ŋ N velar nasal thing
p p voiceless bilabial plosive speak
ɹ r\ alveolar approximant red
s s voiceless alveolar fricative seem
ʃ S voiceless postalveolar fricative ship
t t voiceless alveolar plosive trap
t͡ʃ tS voiceless postalveolar affricate chart
θ T voiceless dental fricative thin
v v voiced labiodental fricative vest
w w labial-velar approximant west
z z voiced alveolar fricative zero
ʒ Z voiced postalveolar fricative vision
Vowels
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ə @ mid central vowel arena
æ { near-open front unrounded vowel trap
aI diphthong price
aU diphthong mouth
ɑ A long open back unrounded vowel father
eI diphthong face
ɜ 3 open-mid central unrounded vowel nurse
ɛ E open-mid front unrounded vowel dress
i i long close front unrounded vowel fleece
ɪ I near-close near-front unrounded vowel kit
əʊ @U diphthong goat
ɔ O long open-mid back rounded vowel thought
ɔɪ OI diphthong choice
u u long close back rounded vowel goose
ʊ U near-close near-back rounded vowel foot
ʌ V open-mid back unrounded vowel strut
ɒ Q open back rounded vowel bother
ɛə E@ diphthong bear
ɪə I@ diphthong beer
ʊə U@ diphthong tour
Additional Symbols
IPA X-SAMPA Description Examples
ˈ " primary stress Alabama
ˌ % secondary stress Alabama
. . syllable boundary A.la.ba.ma
Hindi Consonants
IPA XSAMPA Description Examples
p_h voiceless aspirated bilabial plosive फूल (phool)
b_h voiced aspirated bilabial plosive भारी (bhaari)
t_d voiceless dental plosive तापमान (taapmaan)
t̪ʰ t_d_h voiceless aspirated dental plosive थोड़ा (thoda)
d_d voiced dental plosive दिल्ली (dilli)
d̪ʱ d_d_h voiced aspirated dental plosive धोबी (dhobi)
ʈ t` voiceless retroflex plosive टोरा (katora)
ʈʰ t`_h voiceless aspirated retroflex plosive ठंड (thand)
ɖ d` voiced retroflex plosive र (darr)
ɖʱ d`_h voiced aspirated retroflex plosive ढाल (dhal)
tʃʰ tS_h voiceless aspirated palatal affricate छाल (chaal)
dʒʱ dZ_h voiced aspirated palatal affricate झाल (jhaal)
k_h voiceless aspirated velar plosive खान (khan)
ɡʱ g_h voiced aspirated velar plosive घान (ghaan)
ɳ n` retroflex nasal क्ष (kshan)
ɾ 4 alveolar flap राम (ram)
ɽ r` plain retroflex flap ड़ा (bada)
ɽʱ r`_h voiced aspirated retroflex flap ढ़ी (barhi)
ʋ v\ bilabial approximant सूल (wasool)
Hindi Vowels
IPA XSAMPA Description Examples
ə @_o mid central vowel च्छा (achhaa)
ə̃ @~ nasalised mid central vowel हँसना (hansnaa)
a A_o open front unrounded vowel ग (aag)
A~ nasalised open front unrounded vowel घड़ियाँ (ghariyaan)
ɪ I_o near-close near-front unrounded vowel क्कीस (ikkees)
ɪ̃ I~ nasalised near-close near front unrounded vowel सिंचाई (sinchai)
i i_o close front unrounded vowel बिल्ली (billee)
i~ nasalised close front unrounded vowel हीं (nahin)
ʊ U_o near-close near-back rounded vowel ल्लू (ullu)
ʊ̃ U~ nasalised near-close near-back rounded vowel मुँह (munh)
u u_o close back rounded vowel फूल (phool)
u~ nasalised close back rounded vowel ऊँट (oont)
ɔ O_o open-mid back rounded vowel कौन (kaun)
ɔ̃ O~ nasalised open-mid back rounded vowel भौं  (bhaun)
o o close-mid back rounded vowel सोना (sona)
o~ nasalised close-mid back rounded vowel क्यों (kyon)
ɛ E_o open-mid front unrounded vowel पैसा  (paisa)
ɛ̃ E~ nasalised open-mid front unrounded vowel मैं (main)
e e close-mid front unrounded vowel क (ek)
e~ nasalised close-mid front unrounded vowel किताबें  (kitabein)

These symbols provide full coverage for the sounds of German. Other languages require the use of symbols not included in this list, which are not supported. Using symbols not included in this list for German skills is discouraged, as it may result in suboptimal speech synthesis.

Consonants
IPA X-Sampa Description Examples
b b voiced bilabial plosive Bier
d d voiced alveolar plosive Dach
ç C voiceless palatal fricative ich
d͡ʒ dZ voiced postalveolar affricate Dschungel
f f voiceless labiodental fricative Vogel
g g voiced velar plosive Gabel
h h voiceless glottal fricative Haus
j j palatal approximant jemand
k k voiceless velar plosive Kleid
l l alveolar lateral approximant Loch
m m bilabial nasal Milch
n n alveolar nasal Natur
ŋ N velar nasal klingen
p p voiceless bilabial plosive Park
p͡f pf voiceless labiodental affricate Apfel
ʀ R uvular trill Regen
s s voiceless alveolar fricative Messer
ʃ S voiceless postalveolar fricative Fischer
t t voiceless alveolar plosive Topf
t͡s ts voiceless alveolar affricate Zahl
t͡ʃ tS voiceless postalveolar affricate deutsch
v v voiced labiodental fricative Wasser
x x voiceless velar fricative kochen
z z voiced alveolar fricative See
ʒ Z voiced postalveolar fricative Orange
Vowels
IPA X-Sampa Description Examples
a a open front unrounded vowel Salz
a: long open front unrounded vowel Sahne
aU diphthong Augen
ə @ mid central vowel Rede
ɐ 6 near-open central vowel besser
aI diphthong nein
ɛ E open-mid front unrounded vowel Kellner
e: long close-mid front unrounded vowel Rede
øː 2: long close-mid front rounded vowel böse
ɪ I near-close near-front unrounded vowel bitte
i: long close front unrounded vowel Lied
ɔ O open-mid back rounded vowel Koffer
œ 9 open-mid front rounded vowel können
o: long close-mid back rounded vowel Kohl
ɔʏ OY diphthong neu
ʊ U near-close near-back rounded vowel Wunder
ʏ Y near-close near-front rounded vowel Küche
u: long close back rounded vowel Bruder
y: long close front rounded vowel kühl
Centralised Diphthongs
IPA X-Sampa Examples
aɐ̯ a6_^ hart
aːɐ̯ a:6_^ Haar
ɛɐ̯ E6_^ Berg
eːɐ̯ e:6_^ schwer
øːɐ̯ 2:6_^ Nadelöhr
ɪɐ̯ I6_^ Wirtschaft
iːɐ̯ i:6_^ Tier
ɔɐ̯ O6_^ dort
œɐ̯ 96_^ Wörter
oːɐ̯ o:6_^ Ohr
ʊɐ̯ U6_^ Gurke
ʏɐ̯ Y6_^ Türkei
uːɐ̯ u:6_^ Kur
yːɐ̯ y:6_^ Tür
English Phonemes
IPA X-Sampa Description Examples
ð D voiced dental fricative brother
ɹ r\ alveolar approximant ripe
θ T voiceless dental fricative north
w w labial-velar approximant well
ɔː O: long open-mid back rounded vowel callcenter
eI diphthong rating
oU diphthong windows
French Phonemes
IPA X-Sampa Description Examples
ã: a~: nasalized long open front unrounded vowel Croissant
ɛ̃ː E~: nasalized long open-mid front unrounded vowel Terrain
õ: o~: nasalized long close-mid back rounded vowel Annonce
Additional Symbols
IPA X-Sampa Description Examples
ˈ " primary stress genau
. . syllable boundary ver.stan.den

prosody

Modifies the volume, pitch, and rate of the tagged speech.

Attribute Possible Values

rate

Modify the rate of the speech:

  • x-slow, slow, medium, fast, x-fast: Set the rate to a predefined value.
  • n%: specify a percentage to increase or decrease the speed of the speech:
    • 100% indicates no change from the normal rate.
    • Percentages greater than 100% increase the rate.
    • Percentages below 100% decrease the rate.
    • The minimum value you can provide is 20%.

pitch

Raise or lower the tone (pitch) of the speech:

  • x-low, low, medium, high, x-high: Set the pitch to a predefined value.
  • +n%: Increase the pitch by the specified percentage. For example: +10%, +5%. The maximum value allowed is +50%. A value higher than +50% is rendered as +50%.
  • -n%: Decrease the pitch by the specified percentage. For example: -10%, -20%. The smallest value allowed is -33.3%. A value lower than -33.3% is rendered as -33.3%.

volume

Change the volume for the speech:

  • silent, x-soft, soft, medium, loud, x-loud: Set volume to a predefined value for current voice.
  • +ndB: Increase volume relative to the current volume level. For example, +0dB means no change of volume. +6dB is approximately twice the current amplitude. The maximum positive value is about +4.08dB.
  • -ndB: Decrease the volume relative to the current volume level. For example, -6dB means approximately half the current amplitude.
<speak>
    Normal volume for the first sentence.
    <prosody volume="x-loud">Louder volume for the second sentence</prosody>.
    When I wake up, <prosody rate="x-slow">I speak quite slowly</prosody>.
    I can speak with my normal pitch, 
    <prosody pitch="x-high"> but also with a much higher pitch </prosody>, 
    and also <prosody pitch="low">with a lower pitch</prosody>.
</speak>

s

Represents a sentence. This tag provides strong breaks before and after the tag.

This is equivalent to:

  • Ending a sentence with a period (.).
  • Specifying a pause with <break strength="strong"/>.
<speak>
    <s>This is a sentence</s>
    <s>There should be a short pause before this second sentence</s> 
    This sentence ends with a period and should have the same pause.
</speak>

say-as

Describes how the text should be interpreted. This lets you provide additional context to the text and eliminate any ambiguity on how Alexa should render the text. Indicate how Alexa should interpret the text with the interpret-as attribute.

Attribute Possible Values

interpret-as

  • characters, spell-out: Spell out each letter.
  • cardinal, number: Interpret the value as a cardinal number.
  • ordinal: Interpret the value as an ordinal number.
  • digits: Spell each digit separately .
  • fraction: Interpret the value as a fraction. This works for both common fractions (such as 3/20) and mixed fractions (such as 1+1/2).
  • unit: Interpret a value as a measurement. The value should be either a number or fraction followed by a unit (with no space in between) or just a unit.
  • date: Interpret the value as a date. Specify the format with the format attribute.
  • time: Interpret a value such as 1'21" as duration in minutes and seconds.
  • telephone: Interpret a value as a 7-digit or 10-digit telephone number. This can also handle extensions (for example, 2025551212x345).
  • address: Interpret a value as part of street address.
  • interjection: Interpret the value as an interjection. Alexa speaks the text in a more expressive voice. For optimal results, only use the supported interjections and surround each one with a pause. For example: <say-as interpret-as="interjection">Wow.</say-as>. Speechcons are supported for the languages listed below.
  • expletive: “Bleep” out the content inside the tag.

format

Only used when interpret-as is set to date. Set to one of the following to indicate format of the date:

  • mdy
  • dmy
  • ymd
  • md
  • dm
  • ym
  • my
  • d
  • m
  • y

Alternatively, if you provide the date in YYYYMMDD format, the format attribute is ignored. You can include question marks (?) for portions of the date to leave out. For instance, Alexa would speak <say-as interpret-as="date">????0922</say-as> as “September 22nd”.

Note that the Alexa service attempts to interpret the provided text correctly based on the text’s formatting even without this tag. For example, if your output speech includes “202-555-1212”, Alexa speaks each individual digit, with a brief pause for each dash. You don’t need to use <say-as interpret-as="telephone"> in this case. However, if you provided the text “2025551212”, but you wanted Alexa to speak it as a phone number, you would need to use <say-as interpret-as="telephone">.

<speak>
    Here is a number spoken as a cardinal number: 
    <say-as interpret-as="cardinal">12345</say-as>.
    Here is the same number with each digit spoken separately:
    <say-as interpret-as="digits">12345</say-as>.
    Here is a word spelled out: <say-as interpret-as="spell-out">hello</say-as>
</speak>

Supported Speechcons

Speechcons are language specific. See the following pages for the available speechcons for each skill language:

speak

This is the root element of an SSML document. When using SSML with the Alexa Skills Kit, surround the text to be spoken with this tag.

<speak>
    This is what Alexa sounds like without any SSML.
</speak>

sub

Pronounce the specified word or phrase as a different word or phrase. Specify the pronunciation to substitute with the alias attribute.

Attribute Possible Values

alias

The word or phrase to speak in place of the tagged text.

This example replaces the abbreviated chemical elements with the full words:

<speak>
    My favorite chemical element is <sub alias="aluminum">Al</sub>,
    but Al prefers <sub alias="magnesium">Mg</sub>. 
</speak> 

w

Similar to <say-as>, this tag customizes the pronunciation of words by specifying the word’s part of speech.

Attribute Possible Values

role

Set to one of the following

  • amazon:VB: Interpret the word as a verb (present simple).
  • amazon:VBD: Interpret the word as a past participle.
  • amazon:NN: Interpret the word as a noun.
  • amazon:SENSE_1: Use the non-default sense of the word. For example, the noun “bass” is pronounced differently depending on meaning. The “default” meaning is the lowest part of the musical range. The alternate sense (which is still a noun) is a freshwater fish. Specifying <speak><w role="amazon:SENSE_1">bass</w>"</speak> renders the non-default pronunciation (freshwater fish).
<speak>
    The word <say-as interpret-as="characters">read</say-as> may be interpreted 
    as either the present simple form <w role="amazon:VB">read</w>, 
    or the past participle form <w role="amazon:VBD">read</w>.
</speak> 

Note that these tags previously used the ivona namespace in the attribute names. The tags are backwards compatible, so existing SSML written with the ivona namespace continues to work.

Other SSML Reference Materials

All SSML tags:

  • Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) Reference (this document)

Speechcons (interjections):