Skip to main content

Plagiarism Across Languages and Cultures: A (Forensic) Linguistic Analysis

Abstract

A considerably high volume of research into plagiarism has been conducted in recent years, most of which focused on educational approaches. Other studies, however, attempted to establish, especially from a forensic linguistic perspective, the extent to which linguistic analyses like the ones used in forensic contexts could help determine the degree of plagiarism in written assignments. However, most of these focused on the role of the linguist as a forensic consultant and/or expert dealing especially with attorneys and being involved in court cases, and rarely, if ever, have they applied linguistic research into academic plagiarism. Indeed, plagiarism analysis has traditionally focused on determining the uniqueness of a suspect text, while disregarding important cross-cultural circumstances. This chapter discusses plagiarism as a cross-cultural/cross-linguistic phenomenon. It examines the perceptions of higher education students and lecturers/tutors in two different countries in order to assess, firstly, whether speakers from different countries share the same concept of plagiarism, or on the contrary whether they have different perceptions. Secondly, based on these perceptions, it is asked whether a distinction needs to be made between judgments of intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism. Thirdly, this chapter discusses the potential role of the linguist in demonstrating the alleged plagiarist’s intention, and the corresponding ethical implications. The chapter ends by arguing that a cross-cultural analysis, combined with an understanding of the legal context, is crucial in detecting and analyzing plagiarism.

Keywords

  • Forensic linguistics
  • Translation
  • Academic integrity
  • Multimodal plagiarism analysis
  • Language and the law

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  • Al-Marashi, I. (2002). Iraq’s security and intelligence network: A guide and analysis. Middle East Review of International Affairs, 6(3).

    Google Scholar 

  • Angèlil-Carter, S. (2000). Stolen language?: Plagiarism in writing. Harlow: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ascensão, J. d. O. (1992). Direitos de Autor e Direitos Conexos. Coimbra: Coimbra Editora.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, S. (1972). Folk devils and moral panics. Oxon/New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coulthard, M. (2004). Author identification, idiolect and linguistic uniqueness. Applied Linguistics, 25(4), 431–447.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Coulthard, M., & Johnson, A. (2007). An introduction to forensic linguistics: Language in evidence. London/New York: Routledge.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Coulthard, M., Johnson, A., Kredens, K., & Woolls, D. (2010). Four forensic linguists’ responses to suspected plagiarism. In M. Coulthard & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of forensic linguistics (pp. 523–538). Milton Park, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Eiras, H., & Fortes, G. (2010). Dicion{á}rio de Direito Penal e Processo Penal. Lisboa: Quid Juris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Finnis, J. (1991). Intention and side-effects. In R. G. Frey & C. W. Morris (Eds.), Liability and responsibility: Essays in law and morals (pp. 32–64). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Garner, B. A. (2009). Black’s law dictionary (9th ed.). St. Paul: West.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glendinning, I. (2014). Impact of policies for plagiarism in higher education across Europe – Results of the Project. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, 63(1):207–216

    Google Scholar 

  • Goldstein, P. (2003). Copyright’s highway: From Gutenberg to the celestial jukebox. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Howard, R. M. (1995). Plagiarisms, authorships, and the academic death penalty. College English, 57(7), 788–806. https://doi.org/10.2307/378403.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Howard, R. M., & Robillard, A. E. (2008). Plagiarisms. In R. M. Howard & A. E. Robillard (Eds.), Pluralizing plagiarism: Identities, contexts, pedagogies (pp. 1–7). Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jameson, D. A. (1993). The ethics of plagiarism: How genre affects writers’ use of source materials. Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication, 56(2), 18.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, A. (1997). Textual kidnapping – A case of plagarism among three student texts? The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 4(2), 210–225.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kress, G. (2000). Multimodality. In Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures. London and New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images the grammar of visual design. Oxon and New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004.

  • Mota-Ribeiro, S., & Pinto-Coelho, Z. (2011). Para além da superfície visual: os anúncios publicitários vistos à luz da semiótica social. Representações e discursos da heterossexualidade e de género. Comunicação e Sociedade, 19, 227–246.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Partridge, L., & West, J. (2003). Plagiarism: Perceptions, and occurrence amongst transnational postgraduate students in the Graduate School of Education. In H. Marsden, M. Hicks, & A. Bundy (Eds.), Educational integrity: Plagiarism and other perplexities, Proceedings of the 1st Australasian Integrity Conference, 21–22 November (pp. 149–154). Adelaide: University of South Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pecorari, D. (2008). Academic writing and plagiarism: A linguistic analysis. London: Continuum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scollon, R. (1994). As a matter of fact: The changing ideology of authorship and responsibility in discourse. World Englishes, 13(1), 33–46.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Scollon, R. (1995). Plagiarism and ideology: Identity in intercultural discourse. Language in Society, 24, 1–28.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sousa-Silva, R. (2012). Legitimated plagiarism: An investigation of textual borrowing in official documents. In A. A. C. Teixeira (Ed.), Interdisciplinary insights on fraud and corruption – 1st OBEGEF conference booklet, Porto: Universidade do Porto.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sousa-Silva, R. (2013). Detecting plagiarism in the forensic linguistics turn. Unpublished PhD thesis. Birmingham: Aston University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sousa-Silva, R. (2014). Detecting translingual plagiarism and the backlash against translation plagiarists. Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito, 1(1), 70–94.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sutherland-Smith, W. (2005). Pandora’s box: Academic perceptions of student plagiarism in writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4(1), 83–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2004.07.007.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Turell, M. T. (2004). Textual kidnapping revisited: The case of plagarism in literary translation. The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 11(1), 1–26.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Turell, M. T. (2007). Plagio y traducci{ó}n literaria. Vasos Comunicantes, 37(1), 43–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Turell, M. T. (2008). Plagiarism. In J. Gibbons & M. T. Turell (Eds.), Dimensions of forensic linguistics (Vol. 9, pp. 265–299). Oxford: John Benjamins.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Turell, M. T. (2013). Presidential address. In Proceedings of the 3rd European conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists on the theme of “Bridging the gaps between language and the law”. Porto: Universidade do Porto – Faculdade de Letras.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, K., & Carroll, J. (2009). Referencing and understanding plagiarism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woolls, D. (2003). Better tools for the trade and how to use them. Forensic Linguistics, 10(1), 102–112. https://doi.org/10.1558/sll.2003.10.1.102.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Woolls, D., & Coulthard, M. (1998). Tools for the trade. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 5(1), 33–57. http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/IJSLL/article/view/508/3884.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was partially supported by Grant SFRH/BD/47890/2008 and SFRH/BPD/100425/2014 FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal, co-financed by POPH/FSE.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rui Sousa-Silva .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Sousa-Silva, R. (2019). Plagiarism Across Languages and Cultures: A (Forensic) Linguistic Analysis. In: Brunn, S., Kehrein, R. (eds) Handbook of the Changing World Language Map. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73400-2_191-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73400-2_191-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-73400-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-73400-2

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Earth & Environm. ScienceReference Module Physical and Materials Science