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With the rapidly growing use of the audio and multimedia information over the Internet, the technology for retrieving speech information using voice queries is becoming more and more important. In this paper, considering the monosyllabic structure of the Chinese language, a whole class of syllable-based indexing features, including overlapping segments of syllables and syllable pairs separated by a few syllables, is extensively investigated based on a Mandarin broadcast news database. The strong discriminating capabilities of such syllable-based features were verified by comparing with the word- or character-based features. Good approaches for better utilizing such capabilities, including fusion with the word- and character-level information and improved approaches to obtain better syllable-based features and query expressions, were extensively investigated. Very encouraging experimental results were obtained.