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A technique for decreasing (or increasing) the duration of spoken words or short phrases is of practical interest in relation to vocabulary preparation for computer speech output devices. A natural-sounding compressed output is the result of: 1) proper manipulation of the analog signal; 2) providing the user with convenient operating controls and immediate aural feedback; and 3) providing flexible selective compression characteristics. The implementation of this technique involves an audio magnetic tape loop with adjustable multiple playback heads and associated recording, playback, and control circuitry. The major design aspects of this device, its application to vocabulary preparation for a computer audio response unit, and its usefulness for the study of speech perception will be presented.