PHONETICS: One of the first attempts to imitate human speech production is the Von Kempelen talking machine. It is also a good example of analysis-by-synthesis : the product of the synthesis tells us more about how speech production works.
The early talking machines were based on articulatory synthesis, whereas newer types of speech synthesis often rely on concatenation of pre-recorded units of speech. This latter type of synthesis is often chosen because there is not yet enough knowledge of speech production to make the articulatory synthesised speech sound better than other types of synthesis.
History of talking machines