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Ielts: A Semantics Introduction Essay

1024 words - 5 pages

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is now one of the most popular exams all over the world. According to the data released by the British Council, there are about 200,000 Chinese took the exam in 2012. However, average Chinese did not perform well in this exam. Personally, my performance improved a lot after I learned linguistic course. In my point of view, this exam is closed related to the Semantics study. Therefore, in this paper, I will present the exam in a semantics way. The IELTS exam has four parts---listening, reading, writing and speaking. I will look into them respectively from a semantics perspective.
The listening part has much to do with context. Hall E. T. ...view middle of the document...

The second to the sixth are called associative meaning. IELTS exam does not require us to understand the associative meaning of a word. Instead, we need to know the conceptual meaning of a word; that is a word’s sense or reference. We shall not guess the meaning behind the word in the passage. All the answers are based on the reading passage, rather than any knowledge outside the passage. In some Chinese exams, we often have open questions in reading comprehension that asks us to give our own opinions of the topic. However, in IELTS reading part, they only have objective item. We can only use the words from the passage to answer even the Gap-filling questions。
In the speaking part, referential theory shall be learned. Actually, in the IELTS speaking test, it does not matter what we say, it is how we say it that really matters. It would be better for us to say words with a clear reference than without. The test requires our English to be appropriate, accurate and fluent. In China, we often say many words without actual meanings. It is common for Chinese to speak a lot, but say nothing. However, in the IELTS exam, words without clear references are considered to be problematic. According to the British Council, we would better learn to uses a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly to convey precise meaning. Even sometimes we can not express an idea directly; we shall use paraphrase effectively as required. For example, the sentence “my hometown is beautiful” is less valued by the examiners. They might think “beautiful” to be a word without a clear reference. Rather, if we say it in this way, “my hometown is a coastal city with beautiful beaches”, the marks are bound to increase.
In the writing part, we need to know more about the major sense relations in semantics. There are mainly three relations---synonymy, antonymy and hyponymy. As is known to all, IELTS examiners value synonymy much. Usually, in the writing test, we have a certain topic. Many...

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