Kyoko Yamada mentions that in EFL/ESL context, the debate concerning plagiarism is considerably based around the relevancy of the students L1 cultural perceptions of plagiarism in comparison to those of English convention. The issues regarding these debates have examined how learners cope with the expectations of English convention, how their L2 writing is influenced by their L1, and the appropriateness of applying the same standards for plagiaristic writing to ESL/EFL learners. Yamada is concerned that these debates don’t offer enough pragmatic methods for ESL/EFL learners to both avoid plagiarism and identify it in their own work. Yamada’s suggestion is to teach ESL/EFL writers inferential thought processes as a means to improving their ability to avoid plagiarism.
Paraphrasing requires extensive vocabulary as well as a certain intuition for acceptable syntax. Even as a native speaker of English, I often have difficulty formulating acceptable paraphrases. It is in these cases that I tend to lean toward the use of quotations in my writing. Given the standards of academia, quoting is acceptable practice. I have been told in the past that there is no limit to the use of quotes in academic writing. Understanding this I have relied on them heavily in many academic writing assignments. The decision to overly rely on quotations has probably contributed negatively to the development of my paraphrasing abilities. I think understanding the framework of inferential thought processes could be beneficial to me as I read source material for writing. Inferring deductively and analogically thinking about the source material (and taking notes with this framework in mind) may contribute to the process of paraphrasing. As long as the reader can understand the main points of a passage, they can return to the text and examine it to see how these points relate and affect each other. From here readers can connect these main points with the context of their own writing. If the reader grasps the wider ideas of the text then they will focus less on reorganizing the text’s words to avoid plagiarism and more on using the textual meaning as a way to contribute to the ideas of their writing.
Yamada, K. (2003) What Prevents ESL/EFL Writers from Avoiding Plagiarism?: Analyses of 10 North American College Websites. System. 31. pages 247-258.