Several strategies are described that overcome limitations of basic network models as steps towards the design of large connectionist speech recognition systems. The two major areas of concern are the problem of time and the problem of scaling. Speech signals continuously vary over time and encode and transmit enormous amounts of human knowledge. To decode these signals, neural networks must be able to use appropriate representations of time and it must be possible to extend these nets to almost arbitrary sizes and complexity within finite resources. The problem of time is addressed by the development of a Time-Delay Neural Network ; the problem of scaling by Modularity and Incremental Design of large nets based on smaller subcomponent nets. It is shown that small networks trained to perform limited tasks develop time invariant, hidden abstractions that can subsequently be exploited to train larger, more complex nets efficiently. Using these techniques, phoneme recognition networks of increasing complexity can be constructed that all achieve superior recognition performance.