Paraphrase: An EAP Parody

This week I performed a song in front of some of my colleagues at UEA INTO.  It was a parody of the Coldplay song, Paradise, which I originally sang at the University of Warwick, in June 2012, that was dedicated to Steve Mann.

The reason behind the original parody was to entertain but there was a deliberate attempt to express the importance of not plagiarising on an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course, notably a Masters at the centre of Applied Linguistics.  The updated version was even more explicitly targetted at those on a pre-sessional course, in which the academic skills of paraphrasing and summarising are essential to avoid accusations of plagiarism.  The senior teacher, Lander Hawes, at the University of East Anglia, who taught students about the dangers of plagiarism and gave a lecture on this, recently left his position after several years.  So this version was dedicated to him – the ‘plagiarism man’ as I call him in the song.  It ends with a rap.

The rewritten lyrics show the importance of avoiding plagiarism, while stressing the importance of those academic skills required when writing a masters level essay, and are as follows:

How you doing, INTO?

She was just an innocent girl

From a ‘liberal’ Chinese world

Who had learned to get everything that she could

From the Internet or a downloaded book

So she plagia-plagia-plagiarised plagia-plagia-plagiarised plagia-plagia-plagiarised

Every time she wrote some lines

She ended up in Humanities ‘D’

And her tutor expected honesty

She was not allowed to plagiarise

when she quoted words or she summarised

Essays needed proper referencing

Lest she would get zero marks

If she tried to copy others and not properly cite her literary source

She might be penalised, chucked off the course

So she should para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase

or would end her Norwich days

So she should para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase

It’s the only honest way


Nevermind that Coldplay nick their melodies

Everything is up for grabs unless you pay in times like these

So you must para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase

for the sake of your MA

(So you must) para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase para-para-paraphrase


So if you know what’s good for you and you don’t wanna get screwed.. As you do your final essay whilst you can’t afford food There’s just one request from the UEA and they don’t wanna be rude Remember to acknowledge everything that you do Time is running out on the essay that you planned Overuse of endnotes and direct quotes they can’t stand So be careful when you copy and paste, if you can Or you’ll have to answer to the Plagiarism man.

You can watch my performance here, which was recorded with different mobile devices. Thanks goes to two of my current colleagues, Hannah Barrah and Adele Pennington, for the additional footage.  I make a very noticeable mistake when I said ‘Warwick’ instead of ‘Norwich’, but managed to recover my composure enough to finish the song. 🙂


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