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Test: Pronunciation of “read”

Last updated: 05 October 2006


The way in which some words are spoken by screen readers can be highly dependent on context. This can be particularly problematical when it comes to homographs. A good example of this is the word "read", which is pronounced differently in English depending on the tense being used. The way it is pronounced by a screen reader can even depend on whether or not a capital letter is used.

This test aims to discover how different screen readers cope with the word in different contexts, to provide a useful reference for typical problems, and to suggest remedies for those problems.


Note: The links in these test cases do not lead anywhere.

  1. Pronunciation of “read” and variations
  2. read
  3. Read
  4. read more
  5. read more
  6. Read more
  7. Read more
  8. Read More
  9. Read More
  10. I read more now that I have enough time.
  11. I read more when I was a child.
  12. I would read more if I had the time.
  13. I read everyday.


In these results, the pronunciation of the word "read" is denoted using homophones for the word "read"; "reed" and "red". Emphasis is added for clarity only and does not denote anything about the emphasis used by screen readers.

JAWS 7.10

The test cases above were spoken in the following ways by JAWS 7.10 (again, the links do not lead anywhere):

  1. Pronunciation of “red” and variations
  2. reed
  3. Reed
  4. reed more
  5. red more (incorrect)
  6. Reed more
  7. Reed more
  8. Reed More
  9. Reed More
  10. I red more now that I have enough time. (incorrect)
  11. I red more when I was a child.
  12. I would reed more if I had the time.
  13. I red everyday. (ambiguous)

As you can see, using capitalisations or putting text inside a link can affect how the screen reader pronounces the word. "Read more" links footnote 1 provide a classic example here, and demonstates that you may need to be careful when writing your text (i.e. the test case with the link text all in lowercase is pronounced incorrectly).

Also, note that an ambiguous sentence (where the same words can convey separate meanings) results in the past tense of the verb being used.


  1. If you insist on implementing “more” links, at least make them reasonably accessible. The things to remember are that, firstly, you can't rely on title attributes to provide critical information to a screen reader user, and secondly, that hiding parts of your link text can make life very difficult for users of voice recognition software who speak the link text to select links and follow them. For information on making “more” links accessible to some degree, I recommend checking out Simple, accessible “more” links by Russ Weakley and Florian Grell's follow-up, Simple, accessible "more" links - v2. The discussion on Roger Johansson's blog post Accessible “read more” links is also useful. You can see my bookmarks for more on link text. Back to footnote 1 source


Words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and/or pronunciation. Back to “homographs” in text
Words that sound the same but have different meanings. Back to “homophones” in text