I'm an enthusiastic contributor to one or two sites that help learners of English. I've noticed a problem that crops up again and again.
Many non-native speakers of English make efforts to disguise a quotation that they haven't understood when asking for help with its meaning.
I suspect this is because they have had it drilled into them that plagiarism is a deadly sin (which it is of course).
What they don't appear to realise is that a correct quotation with a proper attribution to the original author is good practice.
Perhaps none of this would matter but for the fact that their attempt to rewrite a sentence that they already don't understand, usually ends up so mangled as to be incomprehensible. (I don't want to single anyone out but if it's vital to the discussion I could provide a link to such a question)
In my experience this practice is common amongst students of whatever discipline who haven't understood a particular phrase when reading a text-book or academic paper.
I can't imagine I'm the only one to have noticed this. Is it a phenomenon that is recognised by teachers in general? If so what do you do about it? Better still, is there a way to propagate the distinction between copying and quoting so that teachers world-wide are not misleading their students?
I have invented an example for the sake of clarity.
The student submits the following question to English Language Stack Exchange:
How can I use the expression "distant type"?
I saw a friend write the sentence, "X got bigger because of distant type Y"
What does this mean? How can I use it?
On investigation it turns out that the original was
"... obtained results suggesting a totally unexpected acceleration in the expansion of the universe by using distant type Ia supernovae as standard candles..."
If you think this example is exaggerated, I can assure you it is not. I see this sort of thing all the time.
I raised this issue on English Language Meta. The difference is that there I was explicitly asking about ways to deal with the phenomenon on Stack Exchange. Here I am asking if there is a solution (or even a problem) with regard to academic students when pursuing formal courses. I see this as sufficiently different to justify both questions.