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TRANSCRIPT

EPISODE 15: LISTENING FOR SIGNPOST WORDS

Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.
In this episode we'll look at signpost words. These are words and phrases that help
the listener follow what someone is saying, and work out what they are about to say.
Listen to this woman talking about Chinese New year in Melbourne:
Well, she's visiting from Vietnam, and we're just here to celebrate the Chinese New
Year. I guess it's more quieter here. I mean, it's pretty noisy today, but over in
Vietnam, it'd be, like, much bigger, yep. There'd be a lot more people around as well.
When she says 'I mean', the listener knows she is about to explain more about her
statement. Listen again:
Well, she's visiting from Vietnam, and we're just here to celebrate the Chinese New
Year. I guess it's more quieter here. I mean, it's pretty noisy today, but over in
Vietnam, it'd be, like, much bigger, yep.
Recognising signpost words and anticipating what the speaker will say are important
skills for the IELTS Listening Test.
In the test a speaker may use a technical term you don't know, but if you are listening
carefully you might also hear a definition of it.
In the next clip the speaker is talking about the problem of running out of fuel.
Listen for the technical term and its definition:
This is a worldwide problem increasing traffic not only because it's clogging our
roads but because of the fuels it uses. And whether vehicles use petrol or diesel or
liquefied petroleum gas, it all comes from under the ground and we're running out of
it, which is why researchers are now turning to biofuels fuels that can be grown
instead of mined.
There are a number of signpost words here. When the speaker says 'not only
because' and 'but because' the listener knows he is about to give two reasons why
increasing traffic is a problem. Listen again:
This is a worldwide problem increasing traffic not only because it's clogging our
roads but because of the fuels it uses.
He also uses the words 'whether' and 'or'. This tells the listener he is about to
mention two alternative scenarios:
And whether vehicles use petrol or diesel or liquefied petroleum gas, it all comes
from under the ground and we're running out of it.
Finally, he uses the word 'instead'. That shows he is going to give an alternative to
the first kind of fuel mentioned. Listen:

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which is why researchers are now turning to biofuels fuels that can be grown
instead of mined.
Biofuels are 'fuels that can be grown instead of mined'. So now as you follow the
talk you would be listening for something that is grown:
They're researching how to extract biofuel oils not from canola and other seed crops,
but from tiny plants called microalgae.
He says 'not from seed crops but from tiny plants called microalgae'.
So microalgae are tiny plants. 'Called' is the signpost word when you hear it, you
will get a name or term you might not be familiar with.
And he uses the word 'but' to introduce the contrast between seed crops and tiny
plants. Listen again:
They're researching how to extract biofuel oils not from canola and other seed crops,
but from tiny plants called microalgae.
Another common signpost phrase that signals an unusual name is 'referred to as',
used here by someone talking about hemp:
Inside the stem is the pith, which is referred to as the hurd fibre. And this is the white
part there.
What's the signpost phrase in the next clip?
Grampians national park is commonly known as Gariwerd as well which is the
Indigenous term used.
'Known as' Grampians national Park is known as Gariwerd as well. It's another
name for it.
Sometimes a speaker may use an abbreviation as in the next clip about a
motorcycle engine. Notice that he signposts this by saying 'what's called a':
We've taken one of these engines and we've put it in an environment where it's very
dynamic. You've got centrifugal acceleration, you've got the bike leaning, so we had
to make some modifications. What we chose was what's called a CVT, a
continuously varying transmission, the sort of transmission that you see on many
scooters.
He uses the abbreviation CVT and follows with the full form of the word 'a
continuously varying transmission'. He also provides an explanation of CVT - the
sort of transmission that you see on many scooters:
What we chose was what's called a CVT, a continuously varying transmission, the
sort of transmission that you see on many scooters.
Recognising these signposts alerts you to the use of technical terms or abbreviations
in a talk or tells you that the speaker will follow with a definition or explanation.

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The next clip is of a man talking about a grand house. What words indicate a cause
of something?
Martindale hall was built in 1879. It was built for a 21 year old sheep farmer, a young
man called Edmund Bowman Junior who had a rather inflated impression of his
importance in the world and decided he wanted to live a lifestyle with servants and a
grand house. He unfortunately lost the place after a decade, about 11 years due to a
drought.
'Due to a drought'. A drought is a severe lack of rain, which meant that he couldn't
make any money. 'Due to' means 'because of' or 'as a result of'. Like these
phrases, it signals an explanation or a cause.
What word in the next clip tells the listener the speaker is about to talk about a result
or outcome?
We treat it as our home and the guests treat it as their home therefore it's just like a
house that you live in. It responds and stays happy.
Therefore. The guests treat it as their home therefore it's just like a house you live
in. It's not like a museum.
'Therefore' is an important word to listen for in more formal contexts such as
lectures. It tells you that the statement you are about to hear is a result, or caused
by, the first statement.
The less formal word 'so' can be used instead of therefore. Listen for it in this clip:
Diesel engines are more fuel efficient so you'll go much further on a tankful of diesel
than you would on a tankful of petrol.
We could also say 'you'll go further on a tankful of diesel because diesel
engines are more efficient.' Notice the different order.
Some signpost words tell you that more is going to be added to what is first said.
You can say 'in addition':
In addition to our TV show, Study English has a website.
Or you can say 'as well as':
As well as a TV show, Study English has a website.
Listen for another phrase like these:
Not only is it a museum during the day but when we shut we then have house guests
who come and use all the artefacts.
The house is a museum and a guesthouse.
Not only is it a museum, it is also a guesthouse.

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It's important to know when a speaker is about to give an example. Often they'll say
'for example', but they can also say 'for instance', like this:
Being a private nature reserve we've got all sorts of critters that live here in the wide
range of habitats that we have. So for instance come night time there's the possums,
owls, bats.
Let's listen for one more signpost word, even though.
It's used in the next clip to talk about stick insects and needle bugs:
Even though they live in different places and eat different things, they look very
similar because they both use the same trick to survive.
Even though. Even though they live in different places, they look the same.
This phrase is used to show that what follows is surprising, or unexpected.
For instance, you could say 'even though the weather was bad, we still enjoyed
ourselves'.
That's all for now.
To find more information about signpost words, visit our Study English website.
The address is: australianetwork.com/studyenglish.
Good Luck with your studies.

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