Contrastive Rhetoric


Kaplan Cultural Thought Patterns

English – (includes Germanic languages such as German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish) Communication is direct, linear and doesn’t digress or go off topic.

Semitic – (for example, Arabic or Hebrew) Thoughts are express in a series of parallel ideas, both positive and negative.  Coordination is valued over subordination.

Oriental – (Languages of Asia) Communication is indirect. A topic is not addressed head on, but is viewed from various perspectives, working around and around the point.

Romance – (Latin-based languages such as French, Italian, Romanian and Spanish) Communication often digresses. It is fine to introduce extraneous material, which adds to the richness of the communication.

Russian – Like Romance languages, Russian communication is often digressive. The digression may include a series of parallel ideas.

If you discuss the topic of contrastive rhetoric then you have to mention Kaplan but many researchers are very critical of Kaplan and consider his ideas to be dated and logically suspect.  Connor, U. (1996) provides an updated view of how contrastive rhetoric can be viewed as a field with a focus on empirical sources for the field rather than a finished theory.

Contrastive Rhetoric Extended Definition

A grand theory of contrastive rhetoric of the sort that Kaplan envisioned may not be forthcoming but the following bibliography should provide the researcher interested in this area with a good start:

Contrastive Rhetoric Bibliography

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