An apparatus and a concomitant method for speech recognition. In one embodiment, a distributed speech recognition system provides speech-driven control and remote service access. The distributed speech recognition system comprises a client device and a central server, where the client device is equipped with two speech recognition modules: a foreground speech recognizer and a background speech recognizer. The foreground speech recognizer is implementing a particular spoken language application (SLA) to handle a particular task, whereas the background speech recognizer is monitoring a change in the topic and/or a change in the intent of the user. Upon detection of a change in topic or intent of the user, the background speech recognizer will effect the routing to a new SLA to address the new topic or intent.