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We present a framework for developing source coding, channel coding and decoding as well as erasure concealment techniques adapted for distributed (wireless or packet-based) speech recognition. It is shown that speech recognition as opposed to speech coding, is more sensitive to channel errors than channel erasures, and appropriate channel coding design criteria are determined. For channel decoding, we introduce a novel technique for combining at the receiver soft decision decoding with error detection. Frame erasure concealment techniques are used at the decoder to deal with unreliable frames. At the recognition stage, we present a technique to modify the recognition engine itself to take into account the time-varying reliability of the decoded feature after channel transmission. The resulting engine, referred to as weighted Viterbi recognition, further improves the recognition accuracy. Together, source coding, channel coding and the modified recognition engine are shown to provide good recognition accuracy over a wide range of communication channels with bit rates of 1.2 kbps or less.