AlexaDev Tuesday: Alexa Speechcons Make Her Slang Sound Natural

Did you know Amazon has created a pre-programmed library of audio clips for use in U.S. skills, with Alexa speaking slang words, phrases and interjections? This allows Alexa to sound more natural and speak with proper tone or emphasis when using expressions like, “bazinga,” “arrivederci,” “kaching,” and many more.


Stupid Slang


Amazon calls these audio snippets “speechcons”, and they’re pretty simple to drop into your code. From Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit documentation:

Speechcons are special words and phrases that Alexa pronounces more expressively. You can include these exclamations in your skill’s text-to-speech using SSML.

To include a speechcon in your skill’s text-to-speech response, use the <say-as interpret-as=”interjection”> SSML tag:

Here is an example of a speechcon.
<say-as interpret-as=”interjection”>Well well! Booyah.</say-as>

Be sure include a pause between speechcons. You can use punctuation (such as a period or comma) or other SSML tags (for instance, <break> or <s>) for pauses.


This page lists all the currently supported speechcons, and includes playable audio clips of each one. For more about the SSML tag, see say-as.


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