A text locating system recognizes spoken utterances, uses the recognized words as a search string, and searches text for words matching that search string. The probability that a given vocabulary word is selected as a search word is altered both by limiting the recognizable vocabulary to words in the text to the searched, and by altering the probability that individual recognizable words will be selected as a function of the number of time they occur in that text. The system performs incremental searches by adding successively recognized words to the search string and searching for the next occurrence of the string in response to each such addition. The invention can be used in a text editing system which enables a user to switch between a dictation mode, which inserts recognized words into text, and a search mode, which uses them to search for new cursor locations. Broadly speaking, the invention provides a computer system which recognizes spoken words, which has a data structure representing words; which uses that data structure for a purpose other than speech recognition; and which alters the probability that a given vocabulary word will be recognized as a function of the frequency of that word in the data structure.