Wednesday, July 30, 2014


by Antonio C. Antonio
July 30, 2014

This article is a fitting sequel to another article entitled “Research Method” which I wrote last July 13, 2014 but posted it on Facebook and published it only yesterday. 

Writing about plagiarism brings back memories of Sottoism (Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto translating President John F Kennedy’s speeches in Pilipino) and Mark Joseph Solis (plagiarizing prize-winning photographs).  I honestly believe that none of us would like to join this pair of high profile plagiarists.  There is no pride and honor nor a sense of fulfilment in this. 

Plagiarism could perhaps be traced in the not-too-desirable culture of the Filipino of wanting to put one over the other.  But, on second thought, this is also a trait that most cultures in the world have… just a little bit more pervasive in Philippine society as we experience it every day.  In crossroads alone, we see several drivers wanting to beat red lights and are very proud to do it.  We also see a lot of our countrymen wanting to cut into lines than follow the end of the queue.  This is part and parcel of this culture very much associated with plagiarism.

By definition, plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.  Plagiarism however could be avoided by the simple motion of formally citing the source of the literary piece.  But then we could argue that one could come up with a written piece composed of a series of cites or citations.  In all likelihood, such literary work will not follow a logical pattern.

How do we check plagiarism?  There are several available software that could detect this.  However, nothing beats good old human instinct and intelligence.  Thought processes vary and no two people think in the same way… because of differences in backgrounds.  Sometimes, even siblings display different attitudes and behavior.  Everyone is distinct from others.  

Everybody has their own brand and type of “speak”.  Writing styles differ too.  In both forms of communications, the character of the speaker/writer is revealed through his manner of speaking and his writing style.  There will always be some sort of pattern and consistency which could only be the result of a singular thought process… this could never be replicated by another person.

Literature, specifically in written form will practically give away our writing character.  Subsequent written work, plagiarized (in part or in full) from another person’s work or written by someone else, will show a sudden deviation from this writing character.  And when something is off-character, it would be safe to say that someone else (not the person we think) is communicating with us.  Additional written communications will only serve to confirm this.  However, only human instinct and intelligence could detect this.

If we have to write, let’s just write.   Copying the thoughts of others and passing them off as our own can also be considered as intellectual dishonesty.  And there really is no difference between intellectual dishonesty and plagiarism.

Just my little thoughts…

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