Let your computer do the talking!
I had fun over the weekend playing around with KMouth, which is installed on Mandriva LE. I realised - after reading the manual - that this is a front-end package for any compatible voice synthesizer, and that one of the prefered synths is called 'Festival'. A nice open source job developed by Edinburgh University.
Imagine my surprise when I found (accidentally) that Festival is pre-installed on this distro. So I went into the Configure menu in Kmouth, browsed around until I found /bin/Festival and entered /bin/Festival --tts Which tells the software to treat input as 'text to speech'.
I then rang my Mum, and had fun pretending that I had company :twisted: ... I'm sure it has more serious uses: eg., for disabled people, but I got it to read a letter I wrote a few weeks earlier ... :)