What are relational and discourse-marking lecture cues?

This is the fourth and final lesson about Listening for Lecture Cues. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Introduce the concepts of relational and discourse-marking listening and lecture cues

– Divide these cues into seven subcategories

– Provide examples of each category to assist comprehension

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Lesson 4

The two final types of listening and lecture cues are called relational and discourse-marking cues, both of which are useful if you wish to improve your listening skills. Relational cues, such as in the examples below, are used to show relationships between concepts and ideas within a presentation:

Listening for Lecture Cues 4.1 Relational Cues
Listening for Lecture Cues 4.2 Relational Cues

A speaker will routinely signal and emphasise comparisons and contrasts in a lecture or highlight causal relationships to better explain and illustrate their ideas. Relational cues such as in the previous examples can therefore be divided into two types, the first of which are the cause and effect cues:

Listening for Lecture Cues 4.3 Cause and Effect Cues

The second type of relational cues are the compare and contrast cues which a speaker may use to discuss the similarities or differences of two concepts:

Listening for Lecture Cues 4.4 Compare and Contrast Cues

Finally are discourse-marking cues. In linguistics, a discourse marker simply refers to a word or phrase that helps to separate the elements of a conversation. In the context of academic presentations, this term is used to indicate when the speaker is adding something to their speech other than information or structure, such as emphasis, digression or restatement. These discourse-marking cues are therefore more practical in nature rather than informational.

But when would a speaker need to emphasise, digress from or restate their ideas? Simply put, emphasis cues, such as those provided below, may be used when the presenter wishes to highlight which of the ideas in their presentation are most significant, or when the listener should pay attention at a particular point:

Another way of providing a form of emphasis is to use restatement cues, which let the listener see the importance of a point by taking the time to repeat it. Additionally, such cues may be used to paraphrase an idea so that it’s overall meaning is better understood. Digression cues, on the other hand, are used when the speaker wishes to briefly move away from the main idea of a topic, perhaps to tell a short story or provide only loosely relevant examples.

Listening for Lecture Cues 4.6 Restatement Cues
Listening for Lecture Cues 4.7 Digression Cues

It’s worth learning all of these lecture cues if you wish to be a successful listener.

4 of 4 Lessons Completed


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