International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 4, No 2 (1997)

Textual kidnapping - a case of plagiarism among three student texts?

Alison Johnson
Issued Date: 9 May 2013

Abstract


The linguistic analysis of text for forensic purposes has been developing rapidly over the past decade. However, the discipline has done so in spite of a lack of established tools, methods or theories. Writers in the field have been contributing to a suite of techniques and methods of analysis and this paper offers some further tools for the statistical analysis of text. A case of alleged plagiarism is investigated through the use of two computer programs: Vocalyse and File Comparison. The discussion demonstrates how a quantitative statistical investigation of hapaxes, unique and common lexical and closed class vocabulary can support a qualitative textual analysis, in order to establish whether a case of plagiarism has occurred. The statistical tools and methods explained are offered as examples for use and development by readers.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v4i2.210

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