Past versions of Ubuntu had speech built in.

Searching in Unity I can't find anything with the words "speak" nor "speech" that are relevant for TTS

My plan is to have cron jobs speak so I can leave the monitor shut off.

Beginning with having it do a time announcement each hour. It is OK if it is not perfectly precise to the second.

So how can I make 16.04 LTS speak?

2 Answers 2


For my project, cron jobs that can talk, espeak is the simplest.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install espeak

It can announce the time with /home/me/scripts/saytime:

echo "\`$(date +%H)\` Hundred" | espeak

Then set it into crontab like so:

export EDITOR=gedit
crontab -e

...add this line:

00 * * * * /home/me/scripts/saytime

For more details about espeak itself:

How to text-to-speech output using command-line?

  • Stop spamming links to your posts, please.
    – muru
    Nov 20, 2017 at 18:24
  • @SDsolar I would suggest adding how you added the script to your crontab as well, that way it's a more complete answer.
    – Thomas Ward
    Nov 21, 2017 at 15:15
  • Great idea. You can now see it above.
    – SDsolar
    Nov 21, 2017 at 20:23

You may need to initialize sound in crontab temporary shell to get sound.

So you can initialize sound in crontab or at least in script that is called from crontab.

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