Speak & Spell toy

Texas Instruments' Speak & Spell -also called 'Speak 'n Spell'- is an original electronic educational game and debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1978, making it one of the earliest handheld electronic devices with a visual display to use interchangeable game cartridges.


The toy had a TMC0280 linear predictive coding speech synthesizer speech synthesizer, a keyboard, an LCD screen and an expansion port for ROM cartridges to play games. It was available in seven languages until the 1990s, when it was superseded by more advanced electronic reading toys.

Original Speak & Spell game

The original Speak & Spell was the first of a three-part talking educational toy series that also included: Speak & Read and Speak & Math. Later they also introduced Speak & Music. The game was sold in the US, the UK, and Japan and was advertised as an educational tool for helping children ages 7 and up to learn to spell and pronounce over 200 commonly misspelled words. It shipped without a cartridge, in this configuration called simply the Basic Unit (containing the minigames, Mystery Word, Secret Code, and Letter).

Between its release and 1983, the Speak & Spell was redesigned twice under the name Speak & Spell. It was completely recreated in 1982 as the Speak & Spell Compact (a version lacking a visual display), and in 1989 the Super Speak & Spell was released to replace the original vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) with a liquid crystal display (LCD). Between 1989 and 1992 the Super Speak & Spell saw three redesigns as well. The 1992 Super Speak & Spell marked the last release of the series.

Interesting facts

Speak & Spell-generated speech synthesis has feated in alternative music, electronic music (with such artists as Röyksopp and Robyn and Kraftwerk), synthpop, trance music, electropop and hip hop. Synthpop band Depeche Mode's 1981 debut album, Speak & Spell, is named after this device.

Read this Wikipedia article for more information and history.

Updated: 4 October 2020

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Speak Spell value and price guide

What's your Speak Spell worth? Here are some recently sold items.

Picture Title Date Price
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