Speaking in Academic Contexts

Rhetorical functions in academic speaking

Examples of texts and language. A good source of language is Leech & Svartvik (1975). Typical rhetorical functions used in academic speaking are:

  1. Describing objects, location, structure and direction Speaking: Functions 1: Describing
  2. Reporting and narrating - Speaking: Functions 2: Reporting
  3. Defining - Speaking: Functions 3: Defining
  4. Giving instructions - Speaking: Functions 4: Instructions
  5. Describing processes, developments and operations - Speaking: Functions 5: Process
  6. Classifying / categorising - Speaking: Functions 6: Classify
  7. Giving examples - Speaking: Functions 7: Examples
  8. Including tables and charts - Speaking: Functions 8: Tables & Charts
  9. Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences - Speaking: Functions 9: Comparison & Contrast
  10. Generalising - Speaking: Functions 10: Generalising
  11. Expressing degrees of certainty - Speaking: Functions 11: Degrees of Certainty
  12. Expressing reasons and explanations / cause and effect - Speaking: Functions 12: Reasons & Explanations
  13. Arguing and discussing - Speaking: Functions 13: Arguing & Discussing
  14. Giving introductions - Speaking: Functions 14: Introductions
  15. Drawing conclusions - Speaking: Functions 15: Conclusions