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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 20: Torres Strait


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0:14

Hello. I'm Margot Politis and this is Study English, IELTS preparation.

0:20

Today on Study English, it's geography. How do we talk about places, locations and directions?

0:26

Listen to this clip about the history and geography of the Torres Strait.

0:33

The Torres Strait is situated above Queensland, between the Arafura Sea and the Coral Sea,

0:38

Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. Darnley Island, also known as Erub, is the

0:44

largest volcanic island in the eastern Torres Strait, with a population of around 375. It

0:51

is surrounded by some of the deepest water in the world, known as the Darnley Deep.

0:55

Though we are a seafaring people, 75% of Torres Strait Islanders today are living on the mainland.

1:02

This is because we were displaced from our island homes since colonisation.

1:06

Life for Torres Strait Islanders has been an endurance test ever since colonisation.

1:11

During the Second World War, hundreds of Torres Strait Islander men were shipped off from

1:15

their homes to fight for their country, of which they were still not citizens. Uncle

1:20

Bill Sailor who has gone back to live on his land of Erub and remembers, all too well,

1:24

the war.

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So that was Johnny Harding talking about his home, the Torres Strait Islands.

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When we want to talk about a place, or where something is in relation to other places,

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we need to use function words called prepositions.

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Some common prepositions include in, on, near or between.

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Prepositions can also be made up of two or even three words, for example, next to, surrounded

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by, or in front of.

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These are called prepositions of place.

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Listen for the prepositions of place in this clip.

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The Torres Strait is situated above Queensland, between the Arafura Sea and the Coral Sea,

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Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea.

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Now, let's go back over the clip and see if we can figure out where the Torres Strait

2:20

is.

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Johnny says that the Torres Strait is situated above Queensland.

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Here's Queensland.

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The islands are situated above Queensland, and between the Arafura Sea and the Coral

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Sea, Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea.

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So the Torres Strait Islands can be found here:

2:45

The Torres Strait is situated above Queensland, between the Arafura Sea and the Coral Sea,

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Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea.

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Learning how to use prepositions correctly can be difficult, because most of them have

2:59

more than one function.

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There are not many rules to help you choose correctly, so you need to learn each expression

3:06

separately.

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Look at the use of the prepositions in the following:

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Meet me at the front door of the department store in George Street on the corner.

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In English we say:

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at a location

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in the street

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but on the corner

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The general rule is that we use 'in' to talk about large areas, for example:

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I live in an apartment block, in Sydney, in Australia.

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Use 'at' for particular locations:

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I live at number 2 West Street.

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Use 'on' to say things like:

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My house is on the corner.

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Or, I live on the second floor.

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And here's a quick exercise on prepositions. Try describing the position of things in the

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picture.

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Choose from in, on, near, between, above,

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next to, in front of.

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The chair is __________ the table. The chair is in front of the table.

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The orange is ___ the bowl. The orange is in the bowl.

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The cup is ________ the vase and the book. The cup is between the vase and the book.

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And why don't you try more of these exercises at home?

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Listen for some more prepositions:

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Darnley Island, also known as Erub, is the largest volcanic island in the eastern Torres

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Strait, with a population of around 375.

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It is surrounded by some of the deepest water in the world, known as the Darnley Deep.

5:02

Though we are a seafaring people, 75% of Torres Strait Islanders today are living on the mainland.

5:08

This is because we were displaced from our island homes since colonisation.

5:12

OK, so we can use spoken and written descriptions to talk about a number of different subject

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areas.

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In social settings we can describe people, family or relationships.

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In physical settings, we can describe geography, landscapes and other places.

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But whatever you're describing, it's important to organise and structure your language. You

5:43

need to carefully plan what you're going to say and the order you want to say it in.

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If you're describing a country, it's helpful to list the features you want to concentrate

5:53

on.

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They might include the location and size of the country, the physical features, the climate

6:02

and even the population and language of the people.

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Listen to all the information in the clip about Torres Strait.

6:11

Can you hear what type of information the speaker is giving us?

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The Torres Strait is situated above Queensland between the Arafura Sea and the Coral Sea,

6:20

Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. Darnley Island, also known as Erub, is the

6:26

largest volcanic island in the eastern Torres Strait, with a population of around 375.

6:32

It is surrounded by some of the deepest water in the world, known as the Darnley Deep. Though

6:37

we are a seafaring people, 75% of Torres Strait Islanders today are living on the mainland.

6:43

We heard information about the location and physical features of the islands as well as

6:49

about the population.

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He could have included information about the economy, customs, festivals or food.

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There are many choices.

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If you're writing about a place, the first step is to decide which features you want

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to describe. The next step is to organise the description.

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When writing about a place, punctuation is another important tool to help organise your

7:19

writing and give it meaning.

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The rules for punctuation are different in all languages, and knowing which letters to

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capitalise is a key part of punctuation.

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The rules about which words to capitalise need to be learnt.

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Let's review some of these rules, then we'll go back to the clip and look at how some of

7:40

these rules apply.

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We always capitalise:

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the first word in a sentence

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the pronoun 'I'

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specific places on a map, for example, the Torres Strait, or Australia

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names of people or nationalities, like Torres Strait Islanders, or Australians

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periods of time, like the Second World War

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and the names of people, including their title, for example Uncle Bill Sailor

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Compass points are not capitalised, unless they form part of a formal name for an area.

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So the eastern Torres Strait doesn't need a capital on the compass point, but Southeast

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Asia does.

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Let's take another look at the clip, focussing on the use of capitals.

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The Torres Strait is situated above Queensland between the Arafura Sea and the Coral Sea,

8:41

Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. Darnley Island, also known as Erub, is the

8:47

largest volcanic island in the eastern Torres Strait, with a population of around 375.

8:53

Life for Torres Strait Islanders has been an endurance test ever since colonisation.

8:58

During the Second World War, hundreds of Torres Strait Islander men were shipped off from

9:02

their homes to fight for their country, of which they were still not citizens. Uncle

9:07

Bill Sailor has gone back to live on his land of Erub and remembers, all too well, the war.

9:13

Remember, if you're not sure which words to capitalise, check the dictionary.

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And that's all for today.

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Don't forget to practice organising and structuring your written language, and always edit your

9:26

writing to make sure all your capitals and other punctuation are right.

9:31

I look forward to seeing you next time on Study English, bye bye.

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