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In academic writing, it is often necessary to use information from other sources. Using language that is too close to that of the original text or not providing a citation is called plagiarism and must be avoided. This sample essay includes a source text and extracts from several student essays based on this source. The task helps you to identify plagiarism in their writing, so you can avoid it in your own.

WRITING TASK

Read the source text below, an extract from an article published in the journal Nature. Then read the seven extracts from student essays which follow. They all use information from the published article. For each student extract, decide whether it uses the source material in an acceptable way or contains plagiarism of some kind.

SOURCE TEXT

‘Linguistics: An Invisible Hand’ by W.Tecumseh Fitch

Quantitative relationships between how frequently a word is used and how rapidly it changes over time raise intriguing questions about the way individual behaviours determine large-scale linguistic and cultural change. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, linguistics was considered a thoroughly historical science, focusing on how languages such as English or Sanskrit changed through time. By uncovering rules governing phonological change, historical linguists reconstructed dead protolanguages such as Indo-European—an ancestral dialect spoken some 10,000 years ago that diverged into a wide variety of modern languages, including Hindi, Russian, Spanish, English and Gaelic. The crowning achievement of these early linguists was a family tree of languages that became an inspiration for Charles Darwin as he pondered biological evolution. Unfortunately, many historical linguists entertained quasi-mystical ideas: August Schleicher, the German author of the first great comparative grammar of Indo-European languages, believed that languages are living things, and Jacob Grimm posited a Sprachgeist—an internal spirit of a language driving it to change along certain lines.

READStudent Essay Extracts

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LEARNAvoiding Plagiarism

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References
Acknowledgements

All authors must admit to a dependence on the work of others. We are no exception. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the publications and reference sources that we have consulted and adapted for educational purposes. It would also have been quite impossible to have produced the material on this website without adapting a variety of authentic resources that we have regularly referred to. While every effort has been made, it has not always been possible to identify and cite the sources of all the material used or to trace all copyright holders. We will be happy to omit any contents or include any appropriate acknowledgements when they are brought to our notice.

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