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Rogeting: why ‘sinister buttocks’ are creeping into students’ essays | Education

Name: Rogeting.

Age: A modern twist on an age-old practice.

Appearance: Baffling, perplexing, mystifying, strange, confusing, puzzling.

Explain, please. You mean clarify? Elucidate? Illuminate? Expound? Explicate?

Any one of those, yes. OK. Very well. As you wish. It is the practice of students replacing words and phrases in essays they have copied from the internet with supposedly synonymous alternatives in order to disguise their plagiarism.

Cunning! Crafty! Sly! Wily! Sneaky! Devious! Scheming! Shrewd! Or, frequently, not.

How so? Chris Sadler, the lecturer who coined the neologism did so after coming across a number of phrases in his business students’ work that did not make sense.

Such as? For instance? Like? Like “to tarry fore of the conflict”.

Eh? Pardon? Huh? What? A tin-eared translation of “to stay ahead of the competition”. Now try “Herculean personalised liturgies”.

Err … a very moving individual rite? No, it’s a ham-fisted rendering of “more powerful personalised services”.

These students are idiots. Morons. Dunces. Block/bone/pinheads. Derbrains. ‘Nanas. “Even if the sentence had made sense it seemed out of place in [a paper on] business information systems and I was motivated to seek out the source,” Sadler said.

Is he actually Rogeting as he speaks? No – all business information systems lecturers sound a bit like that.

Well, set a bandit, crook, pilferer, plunderer to catch a larcener, criminal, defalcator, cheat I suppose. He has entered his favourite Rogetism in the annual competition held by the Times Higher Education Supplement to find the most grievous, glaring, atrocious, egregious exam mistakes.

Which is? “Sinister buttocks”.

What was that in its original incarnation? Let me guess … scary bum from “frightening tramp”? No, I’ve got nothing. It’s a freeform restyling of the simple phrase “left behind.”

Idiots. Morons. Dunces. Et cetera. And so on. And so forth. “[There’s] no attempt to understand either the source or target text,” says Sadler.

I couldn’t have put it better myself, Mr Sadler. Mr Sadler, Burdener, Inflicter, Encumberer, Loader or possibly Farrier thanks you.

Do say: “I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” (Jimi Hendrix)

Don’t say: “Thanks, Jimi, that sounds like a plan.”

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