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A method for speaker independent connected word recognition is described. Speaker independence is achieved by clustering isolated word utterances of a 100 speaker population. Connected word recognition is based on a syntax-directed dynamic programming algorithm which matches the isolated word templates to sentence length utterances. The method has been tested on an artificial task-oriented language based on a 127 word vocabulary. Four subjects, two men and two women, spoke a total of 209 sentences comprising 1750 words. At an average speaking rate of 171 words/min over dialed-up telephone lines, a correct word recognition rate of 97 percent was observed.