As we saw in the previous exercise, to begin a conversation with Alexa-Enabled devices, like the Amazon Echo, you say the word “Alexa”, followed by the request, like:

Alexa, ask History Buff what happened on December seventh

Wake Word

Here, “Alexa” is the default wake word. It wakes up the device and tells it that the user wants to talk to Alexa.

Starting Phrase

Following the “Alexa” wake word, users can use a starting phrase — in this case “ask” — to specify the type of request they are using. Visit the Alexa developer documentation for a list of other starting phrases.

Invocation Name

In the example above, “History Buff” is the invocation name. The user says “History Buff” to instruct Alexa to invoke the History Buff skill, a skill that retrieves historical events.

Every skill, custom or built-in, has a unique invocation name.

In the next exercise, you will learn about the final piece of this statement, utterances.


The diagram to the right labels an example request with its wake word, starting phrase, invocation name, and utterance.

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