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mimic is a small and efficient text to speech engine that works well on modern GNU/Linux systems. It can speak English in several different artificially voices. It is not very useful for other languages. mimic is free software licensed under a mix of BSD licenses, Apache licenses and public domain. It is a pure command-line tool, there is no GUI.

mimic is/was developed by the artificial intelligence company Mycroft. They now refer to it as mimic1. This is the version you will find in your distributions repositories. They are also developing a completely different program called mimic2. This could mean that mimic(1) will be abandoned.


Mimic is available as a package called mimic on most GNU/Linux distributions. Compiling is strait-forward if you are familiar with the standard ./configure && make process. The source can be acquired from GitHub.

Basic Use

A video explaining the four essential freedoms software must have to qualify as free software made in kdenlive using mimic -voice slt to create the audio.

mimic -t "Hello world" makes mimic say "Hello world".

-f filename.txt makes it read from a text file.

Adding -o output.wav will make mimic write the voice output to a standard .wav formatted audio file.

This is what mimic -t 'Hello, this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system' -o mimic-test.wav ; oggenc mimic-test.wav sounds like:

Switching Between Voices

The mimic package comes with several built-in voices. There is also support for voice-files. One voice-file comes pre-installed in /usr/share/mimic/voices. There are no additional voice files available on the mimic website at mimic.mycroft.ai/ but there are some files flitevox files in a voices/ folder that are not included in the package distributions ship on the GitHub page at https://github.com/MycroftAI/mimic1.

The included internal voices in mimic can be used by passing the -voice option.

The available built-in internal voices can be listed with mimic -lv This will, when using mimic v1.3.0, output:

Voices available: ap slt slt_hts kal awb kal16 rms awb_time

The slt and slt_hts voices are female voices. Here is a test of slt made using:

mimic -t 'Hello, this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system' -voice slt -o mimic-slt-test.wav

  • ab, awb, kal and rms are male voices. awb is probably British. kal is probably a drunk. rms does not sound anything like Richard Stallman.
  • slt and slt_hts are female voices.
  • awb_time and kal16 seem to be broken, using them does not produce any understandable outout

Run mimic --help to see all the available command-line options.


Free Text To Speech Synthesis Software
Program rating example voice
Sad hyemi2.jpgSad hyemi2.jpg default
Kim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpg default
1.3 (2005)
Frustrated stallman cropped.jpg default
Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg ab

See Text to Speech synthesis software for a indepth comparison of free text to speech software.


Mycroft, the company who maintains Mimic, has a Mimic-specific homepage at mimic.mycroft.ai.

The source code for Mimic 1, the version Linux distributions ship, is at github.com/MycroftAI/mimic1.

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