Kaplan’s Traditional Contrastive Rhetoric
Before 1960s, influenced strongly by structural linguistic and behavioral psychology, the teaching of English as a second/foreign language was mainly focused on spoken English, mostly “through pattern drills of the sentence structure and the sound system”. Writing was merely considered as a “secondary representation” of language, and was often overlooked by linguistics and language teachers. Urged by the professionalization of TESL, ESL writing instruction in the 1960s, ESL specialists started trying to establish a theoretically grounded approach to teach English writing to ESL students (Silva & Matsuda, 2001, p. xiv). However, the theoretical basis of English …show more content…
The theories and methods developed in the related fields of applied linguistics, text linguistics, rhetoric studies, anthropology, translation studies, and discourse and genre analysis, have produced abundant theoretical basis for the derivation of intercultural rhetoric: an evolved version of contrastive rhetoric (Connor, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2008).
Since 1966, many researchers have taken up Kaplan’s innovative idea. After more than a decade of silence, contrastive rhetoric had a major developmental breakthrough in the 1980s. Linguist John Hinds was the Primary contributor to it. Hinds extended the study of contrastive rhetoric to the analysis of original, non-learner texts in students’ first languages (Hinds, 1982; Connor, 2008). He argued, Kaplan’s research method of having ELL students write English compositions to discover or uncover the rhetorical patterns of their first languages was problematic, because an ELL student’s English composition doesn’t necessarily reflect how the text would be organized in his/her first language. Hinds claimed that Japanese has its own rhetorical principles differing from those of English, and proposed that in order to discover the rhetorical principles of a foreign language, it is necessary to examine the compositions in the language (Hinds, 1982). Hinds’ research starts an era of rhetorical convention studies focusing on specific