The Text-to-Speech system in the Alexa Skills Kit uses punctuation to create a natural speaking rhythm. This is achieved by altering the intonation of words, then adding a slight delay following the punctuation mark.
The recognized punctuation marks are the comma (“,”), period (“.”), and question mark (“?”). The comma offers the shortest pause while the period provides a bit longer delay. The question mark creates a pause similar to the period, but also influences the intonation of the sentence (making it falling or raising) depending on the type of the question. By doing this, Alexa can simulate the change in speech people naturally have when asking a question and awaiting a response. The use of punctuation allows developers to create more intuitive and user-friendly Alexa skills.
You can also add pauses and breaks using SSML. For more information on using SSML in your skill, see here.
For more information on voice design best practices, please see here.
Keywords: Intonation, Voice, Alexa, Design, ASK