Paul Kei Matsuda
On the Origin of Contrastive Rhetoric: A Response to H.G.Ying

International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11.2 (2001)

This article responds to H. G. Ying's article, "The Origin of Contrastive Rhetoric" (2000), which appeared in the International Journal of Applied Linguistics (10.2). Ying raised "the question of whether contrastive rhetoric originated from the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis" (p. 260). He maintains it did not, arguing that Kaplan's contrastive rhetoric is "incompatible" with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis or its German predecessors. He then concludes that "at least several threads of thought may have influenced Kaplan's view on contrastive rhetoric" (p. 266). In this article, I address two main concerns. First, I consider Ying's claim that Kaplan's view of the relationship between culture and rhetoric is incompatible with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I then examine Ying's speculations about the major influences on Kaplan's 1966 article. I conclude by proposing that Kaplan's view of contrastive rhetoric was a result of his effort to synthesize several intellectual traditions, including contrastive analysis, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and then-emerging field of rhetoric and composition, especially Francis Christensen's generative rhetoric of the paragraph.

Matsuda, P. K. (2001). On the origin of contrastive rhetoric: A response to H. G. Ying. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 11(2), 257-260.

Updated on April 28, 2013