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 listenings that 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 (see for example the section 4 of this lecture).
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 sections of 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.
|Introducing the topic of the lecture|
|Explaining the lecture structure (sections / subtopics)|
|Introducing the first section / subtopic or first of a list of points|
|Finishing a section|
|Starting a new section|
To signal the end of the talk / Summing up
Have a listen to the start of this lecture. What is the signposting language used?
So you need to listen and identify the phrases or words you here such as "What I’m going to be talking about today is…", "I’m going to divide this talk into three parts", "To begin,..." etc.
Write it in the box below.
1. Tonight I'm going to talk to you about that remarkable continent, Antarctica.
2. First, some facts and figures.
1. I have been asked to talk to you today about the urban landscape.
2. There are two major areas that I will focus on in my talk.
1. And this morning we're continuing with a look at life in the area called the East End.
2. I'll start with a brief history of the district
3. and then focus on life in the first half of the 20th century.
Home › IELTS Lessons › Signposting Language
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, linking and sequencing your ideas in Writing Task 2 is crucial to scoring high in the assessment criterion of Coherence and Cohesion. You may have some great points to make but if they are presented in a disjointed way, it makes it difficult for the examiner to follow your line of argument. Your ideas should be presented logically in paragraphs and you should use signposting language to guide your reader.
What do I mean by ‘signposting’ language? Well, the words and phrases used to signal the connections between your ideas. For instance, when you want to introduce an example, you might choose the phrase I’ve just used: ‘for instance’. When you want to make a comparison, you might begin your sentence with a word like ‘similarly’. Used throughout your essay, they help to make your ideas obvious to your reader.
In this week’s post, I will give you a range of functions for which we need signposting language as well as examples of each. Then next week, I will give you a text, a model Task 2 essay, where you will have to identify and/or add the signposting language yourself.
So, here are some instances of when you should use linking and sequencing words and phrases in your Task 2 essay.
Introducing an example:
- For instance
- For example
- In this case
- In particular
Providing extra information:
- In addition
- Not only…but..
- What is more
Suggesting a result:
- In consequence
- As a result
To prove something:
- For this reason
- Due to this
- Because of this
Introducing a contrast/show an exception:
- Whereas (one thing…),
- In contrast
- Despite this,…
- Even though
- On the one hand…; on the other hand…
To emphasise something:
To order your ideas:
- In the first instance
- In general
To finish your essay
- In conclusion
- To summarise
- To conclude
Do you know of any others? Can you add them to the list? From now on, whenever you read any IELTS essays during your exam preparation, make a note of the signposting language and how and why it is used. Learn some phrases by heart and make a point of including one example in each paragraph of your essay(s). Remember to check back next week for some practice activities.
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Filed Under: Writing Task 2