Alastair Pennycook's Borrowing Others Words: Book Analysis

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For a long period of time, there has not been any crime that is as severe as plagiarism in either the literary field or the academic realm. Ostensibly, modern people have made considerable effort in avoiding plagiarism, punishing plagiarists, protecting intellectual rights and maintaining textual authorship. Alastair Pennycook, as a linguist who specializes in English language, showed that plagiarism would put writers’ authorship at stake. Based on the factors Pennycook had referred to in his essay Borrowing Others’ Words: Text, Ownership, Memory, and Plagiarism, in this essay I will argue that, notwithstanding the earnest ethical endeavor people have made, factors such as postmodern actualities of the repetitions of knowledge, wide use of electronic media, and power relations in society have been leading people to disclaim their authorship
Before commencing further analyses, it is critical to apprehend the meaning of authorship and understand its deep layer of meaning by comparing it to ownership. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the notion of “authorship” is explained as “the fact of being the author of a piece of writing; the fact of being written by a particular person; literary origin”, which is the most basic but superficial definition of authorship. To fully understand the notion of authorship in Pennycook’s essay, it is paramount to make a distinction between two concepts: ownership and authorship. If one looks up the definition of “ownership” in the

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