and custom phoneme sets

First step: making a new set

This is the most laboured task of the whole process. You have to draw your custom mouth poses, put them in a directory and create a configuration file named phonemes.rc.

Mouth poses

Mouth poses must be drawn on PNG files sized 148x148 pixels. If they’re bigger, only a portion of the whole picture will be shown.

The configuration file

The configuration file lists which phonemes is assigned to which mouth poses. If a phoneme has no mouth poses assigned, the default rest pose is assigned to it. If a file named rest.png does not exist, the default pose will be a blank picture (e.g. no picture at all).

The configuration file must be named phonemes.rc and must start with the line:

[Aramacao Phoneme Set]

It must also specify a name for the phoneme set, that is there must be line that reads:

SET_NAME = set_name_here

Entries in the configuration file are made writing first the mouth pose name, than the equal sign =, then the comma-separated list of phonemes that will be depicted by that mouth pose. E.g.:


Where MBP is the name of the mouth pose and of the relative file (that is MBP.png), and B, M and P are the name of three different phonemes.

Phoneme names

Aramacao internally uses the phoneme set of the Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary. So the phoneme names are the same as those used by the CMU Pronouncing Dictionary, which is used, by the way, by Aramacao to translate English words into phonemes.

This is the complete set

Phoneme Example Translation
------- ------- -----------
AA      odd     AA D
AE      at      AE T
AH      hut     HH AH T
AO      ought   AO T
AW      cow     K AW
AY      hide    HH AY D
B       be      B IY
CH      cheese  CH IY Z
D       dee     D IY
DH      thee    DH IY
EH      Ed      EH D
ER      hurt    HH ER T
EY      ate     EY T
F       fee     F IY
G       green   G R IY N
HH      he      HH IY
IH      it      IH T
IY      eat     IY T
JH      gee     JH IY
K       key     K IY
L       lee     L IY
M       me      M IY
N       knee    N IY
NG      ping    P IH NG
OW      oat     OW T
OY      toy     T OY
P       pee     P IY
R       read    R IY D
S       sea     S IY
SH      she     SH IY
T       tea     T IY
TH      theta   TH EY T AH
UH      hood    HH UH D
UW      two     T UW
V       vee     V IY
W       we      W IY
Y       yield   Y IY L D
Z       zee     Z IY
ZH      seizure S IY ZH ER
Tip You may find out more about the CMU dictionary at

In addition to this phonemes, Aramacao defines the STOP phoneme for the resting position, and a number of fictional phonemes for additional mouth poses:


A new set is born

If everything is ready, there must be a directory containing the files with the mouth poses and the configuration file.

directory listing

It is the basic Extended Preston Blair mouth pose set with two more mouth poses:

half tongue out
tongue out

The relative phonemes.rc file contains the following text:

[Aramacao Phoneme Set]
SET_NAME = EPB+tongue
FV = F,V
L = L
rest = STOP
htongue = 01
tongue = 02
Caution The phoneme set of the Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary is in some ways too extensive, since, for the purpose of Aramacao, stresses are not that useful, and in other ways lacking, since it only comprises phonemes found in the English language, while phonemes found in other languages, including other common European languages, are missing e.g. /ʎ/ or /ɲ/. Aramacao 2.0 will drop the CMU phoneme set in favour of a suitable subset of the IPA.

Second step: loading the set

Now that your set is ready, you have to make Aramacao aware of it. To do so click on 'Edit→Preferences'. Once the dialog window pops up, select the Mouth poses page and select the directory of your custom set in the apposite selector.

Mouth poses

Click OK, close Aramacao and restart.

Caution Custom sets are not loaded until Aramacao is restarted.

Third and last step: using the set

Now that the set is loaded, you can use it. Start a new project and select the custom set.

Selecting the new set

Add the line TONGUE (or a word of your choiche, it does not matter much) to your track.

Selecting the new set

Double-click on the word TONGUE. Once the dialog window pops up, select none as language and click OK.

Selecting the new set

Now double-click on each phoneme to edit it. The animation of someone sticking out his tongue can now be done with the mouth poses E, 01 and 02. For example:

Tongue out animation
Tip You can add and delete phonemes by double clicking with the right mouse button in the space bleow a word. If the space is empty a new phoneme is created, otherwise the double-clicked phoneme is deleted.