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Language of signposting in IELTS

Signposting language is the words and phrases that people use in order to guide the listener coherently through what is being said.

It is used to make clear what has just happened, and what is going to happen next.

So in other words, it acts as a guide so the listener can follow what you are saying.

Why is this important for IELTS?

In section 4 of the listening you have to listen to a talk in an academic setting, such as a university.

It is usually a lecture by a professor, a presentation by a student, or a talk by a university staff member. So it is possible that signposting will be used within this.

This lesson is designed to help you with Section 4 IELTS listeningsthat are a lecture, though the language for a presentation or talk may be the same or similar.

If you know the type of language that is used to guide you, it will help you to follow the lecture.

This is particuarly important if your listening skills are weaker than they should be because you will easily get lost if you don’t know where you are.

Also, the lecture may be split into two parts

It may be the case that these two sections follow the sections that the speaker divides their talk into i.e. two parts. Knowing then the lecture structure and the language the speaker uses to tell you they are moving onto the second section will help you to follow where you are.

The signposting language we’ll look at in this lesson is the words and phrases that introduce the topics and subsections of the lecture.

 

 

Examples of Lecture Signposting Language

This table sets out some of the key language that guides you on the overall topic and content of the lecture, and when different sectionsof the lecture are being discussed.

The table includes the signposting language to signal the end of the talk. However you are every unlikly to hear this used in IELTS because as section 4 of the listening is only around 4-5 minutes, you only usually hear the first part of the lecture or presentation.

Remember there are lots of different ways to say these things, so what you hear could be phrased slightly differently.

 

Signposting Examples

Purpose
Signpost Language
Introducing the topic of the lecture
·         Today we are going to talk about…

·         The topic of today’s lecture is…

·         This morning we are going to take a look at…

·         Today I’ll be talking about / discussing…

·         What I’m going to be talking about today is…

·         The purpose of today’s lecture is…

·         The subject/topic of my talk is …

Explaining the lecture structure (sections / subtopics)
·         In today’s lecture I’m going to cover three points.

·         I’m going to divide this talk into three parts.

·         First we’ll look at….. Then we’ll go on to … And finally I’ll…

Introducing the first section / subtopic  or first of a list of points
·         Let’s start by talking about…

·         To begin,…

·         Firstly,…

·         I’ll start with,…

·         The first advantage / reason / cause etc. is…

Finishing a section
·         We’ve looked at…

·         I’ve talked about….

Starting a new section
·         Let’s move on to…

·         Now, let’s turn to…

·         And I’d now like to talk about…

·         The next / second …

·         I’d like now to discuss…

·         The next issue/topic/area I’d like to focus on …

To signal the end of the talk / Summing up
·         To sum up, …

·         So it is clear from what we have discussed today that…

·         I’d like now to recap…

·         Let’s summarise briefly what we’ve looked at…

·         In conclusion, …

·         To summarise, …

·         In summary, …

·         Overall, …

·         The three main points are …

 

 

Highlighting or emphasising a point Importantly, … Indeed, … In fact, … More importantly, … Furthermore, … Moreover, … It is also important to highlight …

 

Being more specific In particular, … In relation to … More specifically, … With respect to … In terms of …

 

Changing direction or creating a comparison However, … Rather, … In contrast, … Conversely, … On one hand, … On the other hand, … In comparison, … Compared to … Another point to consider is …

 

Adding a similar point Similarly, … Likewise, … Again, … Also, …

 

Summarising Finally, … Lastly, … In conclusion, … To summarise, … In summary, … Overall, … The three main points are …

 

Acknowledging something and moving to a different point Although … Even though … Despite … Notwithstanding …

 

Following a line of reasoning Therefore, … Subsequently, … Hence … Consequently, … Accordingly, … As a result, … As a consequence, … To this end, …

Giving an example For instance, … For example, … this can be illustrated by … …, namely, … …, such as …

 

What are signposting sentences?

Signposting sentences explain the logic of your argument. They tell the reader what you are going to do at key points in your assignment. They are most useful when used in the following places:

  • In the introduction
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which develops a new idea
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which expands on a previous idea
  • At the beginning of a paragraph which offers a contrasting viewpoint
  • At the end of a paragraph to sum up an idea
  • In the conclusion

A table of signposting stems: These should be used as a guide and as a way to get you thinking about how you present the thread of your argument. You may need to adapt certain words and phrases for your own purposes. You may also wish to add your own sentence stems to the list below:

 

Signposting stems for an introduction
To understand the role of … (your topic*) this essay aims to provide a discussion of … (the ideas you will develop)
This essay seeks to investigate/evaluate/illustrate/discuss the impact of … (your topic) in relation to … (the ideas you will develop)
Firstly, this assignment examines … (your topic) and its links with … (your first idea) Next, it closely examines … in relation to … (your next idea) Finally, it focuses on … and how this affects …(your next idea)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which introduces or develops a new idea
One aspect which illustrates … (your topic) can be identified as … (the idea you want to develop)
The current debate about … (your topic) identifies an interesting viewpoint on …(the idea you want to develop)
This first/next/ final section provides a general discussion of …(the idea you want to develop)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which expands upon a previous idea
Building on from the idea that … (mention previous idea), this section illustrates that … (introduce your new idea).
To further understand the role of …(your topic or your previous idea) this section explores the idea that … (introduce your new idea)
Another line of thought on … (your topic or your previous idea) demonstrates that … (introduce your new idea)
Signposting stems for a paragraph which offers a contrasting view
However, another angle on this debate suggests that … (introduce your contrasting idea)
In contrast to evidence which presents the view that … (mention your previous idea) an alternative perspective illustrates that … (introduce your contrasting idea)
However, not all research shows that … (mention your previous idea). Some evidence agrees that … (introduce your contrasting idea)
Signposting stems to sum up an idea in a paragraph
This evidence highlights that … (sum up your idea)
There is general agreement that … (sum up your idea)
The strength of such an approach is that …(sum up your idea)
Signposting stems for a conclusion
Clearly, this essay has shown that the main factors which impact upon … (your topic) are …(summarise your main ideas)
The evidence presented in this assignment has shown that … (mention the conclusions you have drawn)
To conclude, this assignment has addressed a number of significant issues which show that … (mention the conclusions you have drawn)

 

 

Signposting

Section of presentation
Signpost language
Introducing the topic
The subject/topic of my talk is …
I’m going to talk about …
My topic today is…
My talk is concerned with …
Overview (outline of presentation)
I’m going to divide this talk into four parts.
There are a number of points I’d like to make.
Basically/ Briefly, I have three things to say.
I’d like to begin/start by …
Let’s begin/start by …
First of all, I’ll…
… and then I’ll go on to …
Then/ Next …
Finally/ Lastly …
Finishing a section
That’s all I have to say about…
We’ve looked at…
So much for…
Starting a new section
Moving on now to …
Turning to…
Let’s turn now to …
The next issue/topic/area I’d like to focus on …
I’d like to expand/elaborate on …
Now we’ll move on to…
I’d like now to discuss…
Let’s look now at…
Analysing a point and giving recommendations
Where does that lead us?
Let’s consider this in more detail…
What does this mean for…?
Translated into real terms…
Why is this important?
The significance of this is…
Giving examples
For example,…
A good example of this is…
As an illustration,…
To give you an example,…
To illustrate this point…
Summarising and concluding
To sum up …
To summarise…
Right, let’s sum up, shall we?
Let’s summarise briefly what we’ve looked at…
If I can just sum up the main points…
Finally, let me remind you of some of the issues we’ve covered…
To conclude…
In conclusion …
In short …
So, to remind you of what I’ve covered in this talk, …
Unfortunately, I seem to have run out of time, so I’ll conclude very briefly by saying that …..
I’d like now to recap…
Paraphrasing and clarifying
Simply put…
In other words…….
So what I’m saying is….
To put it more simply….
To put it another way….
Invitation to discuss / ask questions
I’m happy to answer any queries/ questions.
Does anyone have any questions or comments?
Please feel free to ask questions.
If you would like me to elaborate on any point, please ask.
Would you like to ask any questions?
Any questions?

 

 

Non-verbal forms of communication

  • lip-reading
  • using body language
  • using sign language
  • using hand gestures / signals
  • using facial expressions

Effective communication skills

  • maintaining eye-contact
  • projecting your voice
  • varying your intonation
  • punctuating your sentences
  • emphasizing / repeating key words
  • engaging the listener
  • asking rhetorical questions
  • using discourse markers

Do you think that people become better communicators as they get older?

I think that people’s ability to communicate does improve with age because generally speaking, people get more confident as they gain more experience of life and I believe that confidence is a major factor. On the other hand, some people may become more self-conscious as they got older, particularly when they reach certain stages in their life such as adolescence. For me personally, I feel that I’m a better communicator now than when I was younger.

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