Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paraphrasing Techniques

L.H.O.O.Q. (1919)
"Elle a chaud au cul"
Plagiarism or Paraphrase?
(Image from Wikipedia)

I'm taking part -- a bit abruptly, actually -- in a funded study on how to avoid plagiarism. I say "abruptly" because I found out on Tuesday evening and received the materials on Wednesday evening for the first session on Thursday. Consequently, the Thursday session was a bit rough because I wasn't thoroughly prepared, but I actually learned some important techniques for paraphrasing a passage. Take this nonsense passage, for instance, which I've just now patched together from some sample words, clauses, and sentences that I initially came up with for class last Thursday:
Profound and humorous is the evidence that supports their interpretation. To express this in a different way, "To be, or not to be," for the data show a causal relation. Thus, the coward dies a thousand deaths; a brave man dies but one. However, therefore, let us now conclude.
That's my patched-together nonsense passage. Let's now look at a list of paraphrasing techniques that was given to me on Wednesday evening, and for which I came up with those sample words, clauses, and sentences:
1. Change to synonyms.
2. Change word forms.
3. Change from a clause to a phrase.
4. Change from quoted speech to indirect speech.
5. Change from active voice to passive voice.
6. Interpret meaning / Identify the underlying meaning of a statement.
7. Change transitions.
Such techniques was I given to work with. Well, let's apply these to avoid plagiarism:
Deep and funny is the evidence through which their interpretation receives support. In other words, to continue living, or to kill oneself, for a causal relation is shown by the data. Thus, a brave man may die, though only one physical death, but a coward dies in many ways even if he escapes physical death. But so, let us now end.
I've applied these techniques rather mechanically, somewhat as a translation engine might, so this is rather crudely done. Does this paraphrase escape plagiarism? Not entirely, for it reproduces the sequence of clauses in the original, and some of the sentences are too close as well.

For that reason, the material that I was given last Wednesday also adds a few paraphrasing strategies, one of these being:
Reordering: Paraphrase by reordering word(s) or phrase(s) of source texts.
I won't bother with that in today's post, but that would be necessary -- though a "thorough rewriting" (as the material suggests) would also prove beneficial in avoiding plagiarism.

I might return to this issue of paraphrase over the next four weeks.

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At 7:15 AM, Blogger dhr said...

Prof. Hound and... hmm... moron is the evil dance: that supposed the ER interpreter's action.

ENDST (word verification)

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Not plagiarism, I warrant . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:46 PM, Blogger dhr said...

Off topic, but about twisted language. In another web forum, last night a member was complaining that the connection was too slow, and she angrily and hastily typed: "My computer's busT."


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Bus T is definitely a slow bus . . . and you can milk that one for all it's worth!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:12 AM, Blogger Mandi said...

Hello Dr. Hodges,

I know this is random, but I was just talking with my grandfather this morning and he mentioned that a friend of his from grade school in Viola, AR had a nephew in Seoul. Anyway, I am heading to Daegu in two weeks to teach ESL and I thought I'd say hi to a fellow expat.

Mandi R.

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Your grandfather's friend must be my Uncle Cranford Hodges, who lives closer to Gepp than Viola these days but who went to school in Viola.

Uncle Cran visits this blog often. What's your grandfather's name?

Jeffery Hodges

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