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Building eSpeak NG



To build eSpeak NG on Windows, you will need:

  1. a copy of Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 or later, such as the Community Edition;
  2. the Windows 8.1 SDK;
  3. the WiX installer plugin;
  4. the pcaudiolib project checked out to src (as src/pcaudiolib).

Optionally, you need:

  1. sox (http://sox.sourceforge.net/) to enable audio output for SSML

NOTE: SAPI 5 voices are not currently available in this release of eSpeak NG. There is an issue to track support for this feature.


You can then open and build the src/windows/espeak-ng.sln solution in Visual Studio.

You can also use the Visual Studio tools to build espeak-ng with msbuild from the src/windows directory:

msbuild espeak-ng.sln

To build with a specific version of Visual Studio, you need to use:

msbuild /p:PlatformToolset=v120 espeak-ng.sln

replacing v120 with the appropriate value for the target Visual Studio version:

PlatformToolset Visual Studio
v120 2013
v140 2015
v141 (default) 2017

Linux, Mac, BSD


In order to build eSpeak NG, you need:

  1. a functional autotools system (make, autoconf, automake, libtool and pkg-config);
  2. a functional c compiler that supports C99 (e.g. gcc or clang). Note: if building with speechPlayer, a C++ compiler is required.

Optionally, you need:

  1. the pcaudiolib development library to enable audio output;
  2. the speechPlayer development library to enable the speechPlayer Klatt implementation;
  3. the sonic development library to enable sonic audio speed up support;
  4. the ronn man-page markdown processor to build the man pages.
  5. sox (http://sox.sourceforge.net/) to enable audio output for SSML

To build the documentation, you need:

  1. the kramdown markdown processor.

On Debian-based systems such as Debian, Ubuntu and Mint, these dependencies can be installed using the following commands:

Dependency Install
autotools sudo apt-get install make autoconf automake libtool pkg-config
c99 compiler sudo apt-get install gcc
sonic sudo apt-get install libsonic-dev
ronn sudo apt-get install ronn
kramdown sudo apt-get install kramdown

For recent Debian or Ubuntu >= 18.04 you should also install:

Dependency Install
pcaudiolib sudo apt-get install libpcaudio-dev


The first time you build eSpeak NG, or when you want to change how to build eSpeak NG, you need to run the following standard autotools commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr

NOTE: The --prefix option above will install the files to the /usr directory, instead of the default /usr/local location. You can use other standard configure options to control the output. For more information, you can run:

./configure --help

To use a different compiler, or compiler flags, you can specify these before the configure command. For example:

CC=clang CFLAGS=-Wextra ./configure --prefix=/usr

The espeak-ng and speak-ng programs, along with the espeak-ng voices, can then be built with:


NOTE: Building the voice data does not work when using the -jN option. If you want to use that option, you can run:

make -j8 src/espeak-ng src/speak-ng

The documentation can be built by running:

make docs

Specific languages can be compiled by running:

make LANG

where LANG is the language code of the given language. More information can be found in the Adding or Improving a Language documentation.

If project settings are changed, you may need to force rebuilding all project, including already built files. To do this execute command:

make -B

Cross Compilation

Because the eSpeak NG build process uses the built program to compile the language and voice data, you need to build it locally first. Once you have built it locally you can perform the cross compilation using:

./configure --build=... --host=... --target=...
make -B src/espeak-ng src/speak-ng

Sanitizer Flag Configuration

It is possible to build eSpeak NG with the gcc or clang sanitizer by passing the appropriate CFLAGS and LDFLAGS options to configure. For example:

CFLAGS="-fsanitize=address,undefined -g" \
    LDFLAGS="-fsanitize=address,undefined" \
    CC=clang ./configure
make check

NOTE: The -fsanitize=fuzzer option does not work when using the above configuration method. This is because clang will use the libFuzzer library which defines its own main and requires LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput to be defined. This breaks the autoconf check to see if the C compiler works.

LLVM Fuzzer Support

To enable libFuzzer support you need clang 6.0 or later. It is enabled with the following:

CC=clang ./configure --with-libfuzzer=yes
make check

eSpeak NG Feature Configuration

The following configure options control which eSpeak NG features are enabled:

Option Description Default
--with-klatt Enable Klatt formant synthesis. yes
--with-speechplayer Enable the speechPlayer Klatt implementation. yes
--with-mbrola Enable MBROLA voice support. yes
--with-sonic Use the sonic library to support higher WPM. yes
--with-async Enable asynchronous commands. yes

NOTE: The --with-sonic option requires that the sonic library and header is accessible on the system.

Extended Dictionary Configuration

The following configure options control which of the extended dictionary files to build:

Option Extended Dictionary Default
--with-extdict-ru Russian no
--with-extdict-cmn Mandarin Chinese no
--with-extdict-yue Cantonese no

The extended dictionaries are taken from http://espeak.sourceforge.net/data/ and provide better coverage for those languages, while increasing the resulting dictionary size.


Before installing, you can test the built espeak-ng using the following command from the top-level directory of this project:


The ESPEAK_DATA_PATH variable needs to be set to use the espeak-ng data from the source tree. Otherwise, espeak-ng will look in $(HOME) or /usr/share/espeak-ng-data.

The LD_LIBRARY_PATH is set as espeak uses the libespeak-ng.so shared library. This ensures that espeak uses the built shared library in the src directory and not the one on the system (which could be an older version).


You can install eSpeak NG by running the following command:

sudo make LIBDIR=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu install

NOTE: The LIBDIR path may be different to the one on your system (the above is for 64-bit Debian/Ubuntu releases that use the multi-arch package structure -- that is, Debian Wheezy or later).

You can find out where espeak-ng is installed to on your system if you already have an espeak-ng install by running:

find /usr/lib | grep libespeak-ng


The espeak-ng sources contain the code for the Androidâ„¢ port of the application. This is published as the eSpeak for Android program on the Google Play store. It is based on the eyes-free port of eSpeak to the Android platform. This code was originally maintained in a separate branch when the repository tracked eSpeak releases.


In order to build the Android APK file, you need:

  1. the Android Studio with API 26 support;
  2. the Android NDK;
  3. Gradle 5.6.4

Building with Gradle

  1. Set the location of the Android SDK:

    $ export ANDROID_HOME=<path-to-the-android-sdk>

(where <path-to-the-android-sdk> is your actual path of SDK folder e.g. /home/user/Android/Sdk)

  1. Add location of NDK to the PATH variable:

    $ export PATH=$PATH:<path-to-the-android-ndk>

(where <path-to-the-android-ndk> is your actual path of NDK folder, e.g. /home/user/Android/Ndk)

  1. Configure the project:

     $ ./autogen.sh
     $ ./configure --with-gradle=<path-to-gradle>

Check that log shows following lines:

    gradle (Android):              gradle
    ndk-build (Android):           yes

<path-to-gradle> may be just gradle if it is found in your path by simple name.

  1. Build the project:

     $ make apk-release

This will create an android/build/outputs/apk/espeak-release-unsigned.apk file.

Signing the APK

In order to install the built APK you need to self-sign the package. You can do this by:

  1. Creating a certificate, if you do not already have one:

    $ keytool -genkey -keystore [YOUR_CERTIFICATE] -alias [ALIAS] -keyalg RSA -storetype PKCS12
  2. Sign the package using your certificate:

     $ jarsigner -sigalg MD5withRSA -digestalg SHA1 \
       -keystore [YOUR_CERTIFICATE] \
       android/build/outputs/apk/release/espeak-release-unsigned.apk [ALIAS]
  3. Align the apk using the zipalign tool.

     $ zipalign 4 android/build/outputs/apk/release/espeak-release-unsigned.apk \

Opening project in Android Studio

To open project in Android Studio select Import project (Gradle, Eclipse ADT, etc) and select android folder of the espeak-ng project.

Then select menu File — Project Structure..., tab SDK Location, field Android NDK location and set your location of NDK, e.g. /home/user/Android/Ndk.


Now, you can install the APK using the adb tool:

$ adb install -r android/build/outputs/apk/release/espeak-release-signed.apk

After running, eSpeakActivity will extract the espeakdata.zip file into its own data directory to set up the available voices.

To enable eSpeak, you need to:

  1. go into the Android Text-to-Speech settings UI;
  2. enable eSpeak TTS in the Engines section;
  3. select eSpeak TTS as the default engine;
  4. use the Listen to an example option to check if everything is working.