Monday, June 27, 2011

Paraphrasing Techniques: Applied!

Technique?
(Image from Free Dictionary)

For those interested in paraphrasing techniques, I worked up some materials yesterday morning, as you can see:
Paraphrasing (25 Minutes)

Text on "Women's Liberation"

Original Passage:
The traditional husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation. Because so many women are working, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning, and even caring for children. In some families, there has been a complete reversal of the traditional roles: the husband stays home, while the wife earns the family's income. It should be pointed out, however, that this is an exception, not the rule. In most families in the United States, the husband still earns most of the money, and the wife still does most of the housework.
Alice Oshima and Ann Hogue, Writing Academic English (4th ed), White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman, 2006.

Paraphrasing Techniques (with examples from last week):
1. Change to synonyms.
Examples: profound --> deep; humorous --> funny
2. Change word forms.
Example: The evidence supports their interpretation. --> Their interpretation receives support.
3. Change from a clause to a phrase.
To express this in a different way . . . --> In other words . . .
4. Change from quoted speech to indirect speech.
Hamlet asked, "To be, or not to be?" --> Hamlet asked if one should be or not be.
5. Change from active voice to passive voice.
The data show a causal relation. --> A causal relation is shown by the data.
6. Interpret meaning / Identify the underlying meaning of a statement.
The coward dies a thousand deaths; a brave man dies but one. --> A brave man may die, though only one physical death, but a coward dies in many ways even if he escapes physical death.
7. Change transitions.
However . . . --> But . . . ; Therefore . . . --> So . . .
Let's take the first sentence of the passage and apply some of these techniques to its parts:
"The traditional husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation."
Let's first use "Technique Number 1" (synonyms). Let's apply this technique to the word "traditional," choosing from a list of synonyms: old-fashioned, old, established, conventional, standard, fixed, usual, transmitted, orthodox, accustomed, customary, ancestral, long-established, unwritten, or time-honoured. If we use "established," we get:
The established husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation.
This is no longer an exact quote, so we don't use quotation marks, but it is still too close to the original and thus constitutes plagiarism rather than a good paraphrase.

Let's turn to "Technique Number 2" (word forms). Let's apply this technique to the expression "radical transformation" by altering the adjective-noun combination to an adverb-verb combination: "radically transforming." We can drop the original verb, "undergoing," since the new, adverb-verb combination contains its meaning:
The established husband-wife relationship is radically transforming.
But we notice that a passive construction would work better, so let's apply "Technique Number 5" (active voice to passive voice):
The established husband-wife relationship is being radically transformed.
This is still rather close to the original sentence:
The traditional husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation.
We therefore need to change this sentence some more. Techniques 3, 4, 6, and 7 don't apply here, but we can apply "Technique Number 1" (synonyms) three more times, for "relationship," "radically," and "transformed":
Synonyms for relationship: association, bond, communications, connection, conjunction, affinity, or rapport

Synonyms for radically: extremely, completely, entirely, sweepingly, violently, severely, extensively, excessively, thoroughly, drastically, or rigorously

Synonyms for transformed: changed, converted, altered, translated, reconstructed, metamorphosed, transmuted, or renewed
Let's use "bond," "thoroughly," and "changed." These give us the following paraphrase of the original (with the unchanged parts in red):
Paraphrase: The established husband-wife bond is being thoroughly changed.

Original: "The traditional husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation."
This paraphrase looks different enough from the original to avoid plagiarism.

Now, can we apply techniques 3, 4, 6, or 7 to any of the remaining sentences in the original passage? Yes, "Technique Number 3" (clause to phrase) can be applied, with the change shown in red:
Original: "Because so many women are working, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning, and even caring for children."

Paraphrase: Due to the many working women, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning, and even caring for children.
The paraphrase is obviously still too close to the original, but we’ve already seen how to deal with that problem.

Applying "Technique Number 4" (quoted speech to indirect speech) can also work. The passage itself has no quotes, but we can quote from the passage:
Quoted Speech: As Oshima and Hogue (2006) observed, "the husband still earns most of the money, and the wife still does most of the housework."

Indirect Speech: Oshima and Hogue (2006) observed that the husband still earned most of the money, and the wife still did most of the housework.
This paraphrase is also obviously still too close to the original, but, again, we've already seen how to deal with that problem.

Applying "Technique Number 6" (interpret meaning) can also work. Let's take another sentence:
Original: "It should be pointed out, however, that this is an exception, not the rule."

Paraphrase: Note, however, that this is not the usual case.
And we immediately see that "Technique Number 7" (transitions) can be applied here:
First Paraphrase: Note, however, that this is not the usual case.

Second Paraphrase: But note that this is not the usual case.
We've now used each of the paraphrasing techniques, numbers 1 through 7.

Let's now look at the result of all our effort at paraphrasing the original passage given at the beginning:
Paraphrase: The established husband-wife bond is being thoroughly changed. Due to the many working women, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning, and even caring for children. In some families, there has been a complete reversal of the traditional roles: the husband stays home, while the wife earns the family's income. But note that this is not the usual case. In most families in the United States, Oshima and Hogue (2006) observed that the husband still earned most of the money, and the wife still did most of the housework.
Compare this to the original:
Original: "The traditional husband-wife relationship is undergoing a radical transformation. Because so many women are working, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning, and even caring for children. In some families, there has been a complete reversal of the traditional roles: the husband stays home, while the wife earns the family's income. It should be pointed out, however, that this is an exception, not the rule. In most families in the United States, the husband still earns most of the money, and the wife still does most of the housework."
There are still too many things in common for this paraphrase to avoid plagiarism. But here's a much more complete paraphrase in which many things change:
More Complete Paraphrase: The established husband-wife bond is being thoroughly changed. Due to the many working women, men have now accepted the division of housework and are willing to cook, clean, and take care of children. Some families have even completely reversed the conventional roles, with the husband remaining at home and the wife serving as wage-earner. But note that this is not the usual case. Oshima and Hogue (2006) observed that most American families still had the wife doing the greater part of the housework and the husband earning the larger salary (Oshima & Hogue, 2006, p. 36).
Note that even though this is a paraphrase, one must still cite the source, i.e., Oshima & Hogue, 2006, p. 36. (Incidentally, I've had to make up a page number since I don't know the original page, but you should always use the correct page number for quotes and paraphrases.)

I would add one final point. Although this paraphrase is more complete, it is not quite ideal, for the sequence of sentences in this paraphrase follows the sequence of sentences in the original passage. Let's rework things a bit more through some restructuring:
More Complete Paraphrase Restructured: Due to the many working women, the established husband-wife bond is being thoroughly changed. Men have now accepted the division of housework and are willing to cook, clean, and take care of children. Some families have even completely reversed the conventional roles, with the husband remaining at home and the wife serving as wage-earner. But note that Oshima and Hogue (2006) observed that most American families still had the wife doing the greater part of the housework and the husband earning the larger salary (Oshima & Hogue, 2006, p. 36).
I have moved the phrase "Due to the many working women" to the first sentence and deleted the clause "this is not the usual case," and adjusted the results.
There. I hope this is benefical for somebody, and there may be more to come.

Just thought that I'd warn everybody . . .

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8 Comments:

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Scott A. said...

I wonder how these techniques influence Internet checks on plagarism?

I forget what site the high school in the US I worked for used, but on term papers, students had to upload to it and it would give a % of it that was plagarised including links to the originals.

I usually just went with Google - typing in sentences I didn't think my ESOL students wrote.

These techniques would likely thwart my "...." method, but I wonder how it would influence site or a Google search without quotation marks...?

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, one could use them to thwart the aim, but I urge my students to be honest and cite sources. The point is to teach how to avoid plagiarizing, but I know what you mean.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:54 AM, Blogger dhr said...

How many useless problems! New-generation italian journalists copy-paste the press releases --- and sign them by their own name, of course, undeterred by the fact that they did not understand the text.


(word verification: diredica = "saying? speak!")

 
At 4:08 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I expect that some of my words here on Gypsy Scholar have later appeared under the names of others somewhere. If I had time to check, I'd probably find examples through Google.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:31 AM, Blogger dhr said...

Hey, it's true! I just found out that a lot of people used my very words "how many", "useless," problems," etc. Goddam' thieves!

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Set up a blog and complain -- but they'd probably steal words from that, too!

As folks say in New Orleans, "They'd have stolen Christ off the cross if he hadn't been nailed down!"

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:38 AM, Blogger dhr said...

Cash on the nailed.

 
At 4:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The check's in the mail . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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