从交流角度出发，说话者在发言的过程中使用的“信号弹”被证明能大大提高听者对所听内容的理解或把握度。新托福口语六个问题的后四个都属于综合题(Integrated Speaking Tasks)，能否对阅读和听力材料的重要信息进行合理转述是评分的一项重要指标。其中的Task4，是要求用听力中的具体例子来解释阅读中所涉及的某一抽象概念。考官在评分时，会以此为要求，着重关注考生是否在录音中按要求完成了“解释”这一任务。作为考生，当然就要故意去释放一些“信号弹”，引导考官快速理解自己的答案，识别出答案中符合要求的部分，进而给出相应得分，这才算是力气用在了刀刃上。那么如何做到这一点，到底什么是信号弹?读到这里，相信大家都已经有了答案，那就是逻辑词的使用，包括表示句与句之间让步转折、因果、递进、举例、解释、条件、比较和对比等关系的词。由此就产生出相应的几大状语从句。需要提出的是，由于Task4话题会有不同，那么答题过程中用到各种状语从句的概率也就不同，切不可一概而论。下面，通过两个不同类型的Task4考题实例，讲解以上从句的用法，以此体现以状语从句在新托福口语答题中的重要作用。
For thousands of years, humans have been able to domesticate, or tame, many large mammals that in the wild live together in herds. Once tamed, these mammals are used for agricultural work and transportation. Yet some herd mammals are not easily domesticated. A good indicator of an animal’s suitability for domestication is how protective the animal is of its territory. Non-territorial animals are more easily domesticated than territorial animals because they can live close together with animals from other herds. A second indicator is that animals with a hierarchical social structure, in which herd members follow a leader, are easy to domesticate, since a human can function as the “leader.”
So we’ve been discussing the suitability of animals for domestication . . . particularly animals that live together in herds. Now, if we take horses, for example . . . in the wild, horses live in herds that consist of one male and several females and their young. When a herd moves, the dominant male leads, with the dominant female and her young immediately behind him. The dominant female and her young are then followed immediately by the second most important female and her young, and so on. This is why domesticated horses can be harnessed one after the other in a row. They’re “programmed” to follow the lead of another horse. On top of that, you often find different herds of horses in the wild occupying overlapping areas—they don’t fight off other herds that enter the same territory. But it’s exactly the opposite with an animal like the uh, the antelope . . . which . . . well, antelopes are herd animals too. But unlike horses, a male antelope will fight fiercely to prevent another male from entering its territory during the breeding season, OK—very different from the behavior of horses. Try keeping a couple of male antelopes together in a small space and see what happens. Also, antelopes don’t have a social hierarchy—they don’t instinctively follow any leader. That makes it harder for humans to control their behavior.
The professor describes the behavior of horses and antelope in herds. Explain how their behavior is related to their suitability for domestication.
According to the lecture, herd animals can be easily domesticated if they have a hierarchical social structure and are not territorial, and that this is why it is easier to domesticate horses than antelopes. As in the example of horses, their hierarchical social structure makes them willing to follow one another and thus allows a human being to act as their leader. It is also because horses are not territorial that they can be harnessed together without fighting. By comparison, although antelopes are herd animals too, they cannot be easy to domesticate. As a matter of fact, male antelopes fight if they are together, which means they are territorial, and because antelopes do not have a social hierarchy, humans can’t control them by acting as their leader.
第一句话对听力材料主要内容的总结和概括是通过if条件状语从句实现的。条件状语从句常用于开头或结束陈述结论，为的是给结论提供合理的情境支撑。在结论给出之后，便要提供细节作为论证理由。这个时候，又要使用到原因状语从句。事实上，多数考生在口语答题中都没有少用原因状语从句。大家在进行托福口语练习的时候，发现很多考生的录音中频繁出现because，so等词。似乎已经成为了口头禅，而并非是用得恰到好处。要记住，凡事过犹不及，我们应该在回答中体现的是丰富多样的逻辑关系，而非从头至尾让考官只听到原因，结果，原因，结果。就算要表示因果关系也可以有变化的方法。如第一句中that is why…的使用，实际上等同于“so”，该名词性从句的使用不仅体现了句型的灵活多样，还起到了强调原因的作用。
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
When we speak with other people face-to-face, the nonverbal signals we give—our facial expressions, hand gestures, body movements, and tone of voice—often communicate as mush as, or more than, the words we utter. When our nonverbal signals, which we often produce unconsciously, agree with our verbal message, the verbal message is enhanced and supported, made more convincing. But when they conflict with the verbal message, we maybe communicating an entirely different and more accurate message than what we intend.
Explain how the examples from the professor’s lecture illustrate the relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication.
The professor gives two examples to illustrate, respectively, how nonverbal communication helps to convince others of what we say and also how it betrays us by tipping others off on our real intentions. The first example is about his favorite uncle’s surprise visit. When he answered the door and found his uncle, he got so excited that his eyes got really wide and at the same time he broke into a huge smile, even jumped like a boy, totally unconsciously. As a result, his uncle felt warmly welcome by him. The second example is about his daughter. When he showed his daughter how to use the hammer, he hurt his thumb. Though he tried to hide his pain by telling his daughter he was ok, her daughter seemed not to believe because his shaking hands and trembling voice made his words less trustable.
讲述第一个例子，when he answered the door…, 以及at the same time…, 都是时间状语从句的典型应用。讲述第二个例子中, when he showed his daughter…, 也是同样的句型。可见，时间状语从句是在回忆故事来龙去脉时必不可少的一项武器。此外，该范例回答中，还用到了两处结果状语从句(As a result, his uncle…, 以及he got so excited that…), 一处让步状语从句(though he tried to…)，一次原因状语从句(because his shaking hands and trembling voice…)。