Most attempts to provide text-to-speech for modern standard Arabic (MSA) have concentrated on solving the problem of diacritic assignment (i.e. of recovering phonetically relevant information, such as choice of short vowels, which is not explicitly provided in the surface form of MSA). This is clearly a crucial issue: you can hardly produce intelligible spoken output if you do not know what the vowels are. We describe an approach to the task of generating speech from MSA text which not only solves this initial problem, but also provides the information required for imposing an appropriate intonation contour. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.