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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.105 pp.141-165

Borrowing Words from a Source in Second-Language Writing

Soojin Ahn*
* Professor, Incheon National University


This study examined whether the English proficiency was a factor to determine how Korean EFL university students use language copied from a source without attribution. The unattributed copying from a source was analyzed using a quantitative measurement, and a questionnaire was administered to examine the students' perception of plagiarism. The results showed that the total amount of textual borrowing and the length of strings of words borrowed from a source demonstrated a significant relationship with proficiency levels. The participants' language proficiency also influenced their perceptions regarding plagiarism. The differences observed between the two groups in perceiving plagiarism suggest that students with low English proficiency may be somewhat less aware that their heavy reliance on direct copying of a source could be regarded as unacceptable in academics than those with high English proficiency. Implications of these findings are discussed focusing on preventing plagiarism.