International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 10 Issue 2 (December 2000), Pages 163-291

The origin of contrastive rhetoric revisited (pages 259-268)

Connor (1996, 1997) claims that the origin of early contrastive rhetoric lies in the Sapir‐Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity. This article argues that her claim does not appear tenable. The Sapir‐Whorf view of language as a causal determination is not compatible with Kaplan's (1966) position that rhetoric is evolved out of a culture. Furthermore, the Sapir‐Whorf hypothesis is actually rooted in German ideas which also conflict with Kaplan's view. On the other hand, Hymes’ethnography of communication approach can be seen as an important historical antecedent for contrastive rhetoric. Kaplan's view appears to reinforce Hymes’position that it is culture rather than the linguistic form which is the frame of reference for the use of language.

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