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It is well known that a strong relationship exists between human voices and the movement of articulatory facial muscles. In this paper, we utilize this knowledge to implement an automatic speech recognition scheme which uses solely surface electromyogram (EMG) signals. The sequence of EMG signals for each word is modelled by a hidden Markov model (HMM) framework. The main objective of the work involves building a model for state observation density when multichannel observation sequences are given. The proposed model reflects the dependencies between each of the EMG signals, which are described by introducing a global control variable. We also develop an efficient model training method, based on a maximum likelihood criterion. In a preliminary study, 60 isolated words were used as recognition variables. EMG signals were acquired from three articulatory facial muscles. The findings indicate that such a system may have the capacity to recognize speech signals with an accuracy of up to 87.07%, which is superior to the independent probabilistic model.