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Progress in both speech and language processing has spurred efforts to support applications that rely on spoken rather than written language input. A key challenge in moving from text-based documents to such spoken documents is that spoken language lacks explicit punctuation and formatting, which can be crucial for good performance. This article describes different levels of speech segmentation, approaches to automatically recovering segment boundary locations, and experimental results demonstrating impact on several language processing tasks. The results also show a need for optimizing segmentation for the end task rather than independently.