Monday, April 30, 2007

In through a second language

New Scientist Magazine has an interesting piece (requires subscription) about an autistic girl named Isabel.
"She couldn't read or write and, like many autistic children, didn't like talking to anyone but herself. At 5, she could speak only 200 words, all nouns, mostly Disney characters or Thomas the Tank Engine trains. She had just learned to say "Mommy" and "Daddy". For three years, my wife Joyce and I had battled Isabel's inability to relate to people, and she had made steady progress."
When Isabel's teacher introduced her to Linnea in Monet's Garden, it started the family on a journey to the garden in Giverny.
"Call the trip extravagant, but that single day in Giverny transformed her in a way we never anticipated. She started saying words in French so often that we enrolled her in a French class. It was like speech therapy - simple conversation in pretend social settings - and she blossomed. She absorbed the vocabulary and pronunciation with such speed that her teacher asked if her mother was French.

One day, she approached a stranger walking his dog and asked: "Le chien est gentil?" I translated: "Is your dog nice?" He nodded yes, and Isabel, who had been terrified of dogs for years, touched the top of its head.

Few experts would suggest that a child with autism study a foreign language, but it worked for her. She applied the French lessons to new situations, at home and in public. The people she spoke to didn't speak French, but it didn't matter to us. She was interacting with the world."

Saturday, April 28, 2007


John McIntyre, the Baltimore Sun's assistant managing editor for the copy desk (long title), in shooting down complaints about a split infinitive, writes
It is a "rule" created by grammarians that has no foundation. H.W. Fowler, writing 80 years ago, and Theodore Bernstein, writing 40 years ago, made plain that opposition to the split infinitive is a mere shibboleth.
To me, a shibboleth is a pronunciation or other linguistic peculiarity that marks its user as belonging to a given group. It refers to the episode in Judges xii:5-6.
5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;

6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

The American Heritage Dictionary provides this definition:
1. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another. 2a. A word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword. b. A commonplace saying or idea. 3. A custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider.
But clearly this is not the sense that McIntyre has in mind. Of the AHD definitions, only 2b might fit in the situation, but saying that something is merely a commonplace idea is not an attack on its veracity.

Merriam Webster gets closer.
1 a : a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning shibboleths come rolling off their lips -- Joseph Epstein> b : a widely held belief shibboleth is a myth -- L. A. Wood> c : TRUISM, PLATITUDE shibboleth that crime does not pay -- Lee Rogow>
2 a : a use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group shibboleth of social class -- Vivian Ducat> b : a custom or usage regarded as distinguishing one group from others shibboleth, its hour dividing mankind -- Osbert Sitwell>
1a is almost what we're looking for, but "opposition to the split infinitive" is nether a word nor saying. Interestingly, the three learner dictionaries that I consulted all provide definitions that match McIntyre's use exactly:
  • an old idea, custom, or principle that you think is no longer important or suitable for modern times -Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (this is the only sense they define)
  • 1 an old idea, principle or phrase that is no longer accepted by many people as important or appropriate to modern life: the crumbling of old political shibboleths -Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  • If you describe a popular idea or belief as a shibboleth, you mean that it may be meaningless or wrong although many people believe it -Collins COBUILD English Dictionary.
(Whether this proves it or not, British ESL lexicography is really leading the field.)

The Online Etymology Dictionary explains, "Figurative sense of 'watchword' is first recorded 1638, and it evolved by 1862 to 'outmoded slogan still adhered to.'" The interesting thing about McIntyre's use is that it may help us see how shibboleth got from there to here. Use of the split infinitive by one group is used as a shibboleth by another (we have progressed from slaughter to mere disparagement.) However, a third group looks at this test and points out that the shibboleth has no factual basis.

It makes a good folk etymology at least.

Friday, April 27, 2007

English, Jack in the second century

This is just a gratuitous, self-congratulatory, self-fulfilling remark to recognise that English, Jack now features over 100 posts.

3500 or so English grammar rules

David Crystal has been blogging for about five months now. In one of his recent post, he explains his assertion (not to be taken too seriously) that there are 3500 English grammar rules. It's a factoid I think I may pass along to students if the opportunity arises--with caveats, of course.

Today's most unfortunate analogy

This morning, Federal Environment Minister John Bair, speaking on CBC's The Current, said that if, in the future, the new climate-control plan doesn't appear to be doing enough, "we can always put our foot on the gas."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Flick off campaign

Driving in this morning, I heard a number of Ontario's politicians on the CBC complaining about the new anti-global warming flick off campaign promoted by Environment Minister Laurel Broten. The campaign is targeted at teens and young adults, and it's just a bit too edgy to be appropriate, they say.

On the radio, the link between flick off and fuck off didn't jump out at me at all. When you look at the stylised logo, however, it becomes clear that the association is intentional.

The website also includes heading such as "ARE WE FLICKED" and "GO FLICK YOURSELF".

I can't say I find it offensive, but it does strike me as gratuitous and puerile.

Foreign Languages at Drake University

An article from Inside Higher Ed, describes the drastic changes in Drake University's approach to teaching foreign languages (note, this doesn't seem to apply to teaching English). In their DULAP program, they have removed most of their language faculty and replaced them with native-speaking informants.

Before they begin their language studies, students take a course in language-learning strategies, taught by a faculty member. This, I think, is a great first step in a situation where you have many speakers of one language planning to study other languages. It would be much more difficult to implement in a many-to-one situation like ESL, especially with low-level students, but we already try to incorporate some of this in our program here, admittedly, at a very limited level.

After that, students meet their native-speaking informants regularly in groups of 5 (4:1). This is certainly a great opportunity and is something else that would prove popular and useful in most schools.

Of course, the contentions are around the role of professional faculty, specifically regarding accountability and quality. Not all the faculty is gone. There remains a skeleton staff. The program is supervised by a faculty member, and faculty also act as a consultants to the students and oversee their progress. Presumably they are in charge of assessment and grading, if such is part of the program.

But I think that removing most of the faculty is drastic and unwarranted. It devalues their role as anything but instructors (I assume that the informants are not carrying out research duties.) And it ignores much recent research showing the value of judicious instruction in grammar and vocabulary (again I assume that informants are not doing this kind of teaching.) All in all, it does look very much like a move motivated largely by the cost-savings.

The interesting part is that it seems to have been the university faculty themselves who voted to scrap the old structure. This likely speaks to the low regard in which the teaching and learning of languages are held. I know this is confounding TESL and the teaching of foreign languages, but few universities in Canada or the states give credit for English language classes. In fact, many English language programs are completely ancillary to the rest of the university. They often have no professors, only instructors, many of whom have only an unrelated B.A. and a TESL certificate.

Getting back to foreign languages, it would be interesting to see a program that combines the best of DULAP with the more traditional models. That, however, would probably cost more money, not less, so it's not likely to appear any time soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

English, Jack = State?

On a narcissistic search for blogs that link to this one, I typed in [] and Google's Blog Search asked,
Did you mean: State

I can't get it to replicate it though...

(Oops! I tried again and this time they ask, Did you mean: rugby)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Extensive Reading Awards

This from Tom Robb:
Every year, the Extensive Reading Foundation recognizes the best new graded readers in English. The finalists for the 2007 Language Learner Literature Award were announced last Saturday at the IATEFL Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland (see list at the end of this message).

The ERF solicits teachers with students who can help evaluate the finalist books. This year the Award will be given in four categories: Young Learners, and three categories for Adolescents & Adults: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced.

In cooperation with the publishers, the ERF will arrange for two copies of each finalist book in one category to be sent to ten teachers per category who meet the following criteria:

1) The teacher or school has an extensive reading class or program in place to which the supplied titles can be added.
2) Students can read, evaluate and vote for the books by the July 20 deadline.

Students who read all the books in the category may directly cast their vote at the URL at the end of this message. Alternately, groups in the class, or the class as a whole may discuss the merits of the books and cast a group vote.

To apply, send your request to stating the category for which you apply, with a brief description of your class, the number of students and their general reading level. Include your postal mailing address and contact telephone number. In the event of more than 10 teachers applying in one category, we will select for balance of country and geographical area. Preliminary decisions will be based on requests received by May 5, 2007 but requests after that date will still be honored for any categories that have fewer than 10 recipients.

We apologize that the timing of this announcement may preclude the participation of classes in parts of the world where the school year is about to close.

The finalist books in each category are:

Young Learners (3 books):

"The Boy Who Burped Too Much" (Stone Arch Books); "The Goose Girl" Classic Tales Elementary 2 (Oxford University Press); "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" Classic Tales Elementary 2 (OUP).

Adolescents and Adults

* Beginners (3 books): "Blog Love" Scholastic Readers Starter Level (Mary Glasgow/Scholastic); "Let Me Out" Cambridge English Readers Starter Level (Cambridge University Press); "The Story of Chocolate" Easyread Level One (Black Cat).

* Intermediate (4 books): "Crossroads to Love" Teen Readers Level 3 (Aschehoug/Alinea); "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" Penguin Readers Level 3 (Pearson); "Rabbit-Proof Fence" Oxford Bookworms Library Stage 3 (OUP); "Strong Medicine" Cambridge English Readers Level 3 (CUP).

* Advanced (2 books): "The Age of Innocence" Bookworms Library Stage 5 (OUP); "Barchester Towers" Oxford Bookworms Library Stage 6 (OUP).

See The Extensive Reading Foundation for further information about the LLL Award and how you may order your personal copies of the finalist books.
I haven't read any of these books, but I'll be ordering the adolescent and adult ones for our library.

Ordinate tests

I received this e-mail recently:
I am the assessment teacher of the Calgary Board of Education. My job is to assess the English level of new immigrants from all over the world who come to Canada and then recommend a grade level for them to attend school. Last year our department (of 2 teachers) assessed over 2 thousand students! We have about one hour or so for each student. Can you suggest some "quick and dirty" assessment tools for elementary and / or secondary students?
I asked around and John H.A.L. de Jong suggested what seems to be the closest thing to a solution: Ordinate's Versant test (keep in mind that John works for Pearson Language Assessments, the competition [In 2008, Pearson acquired Ordinate, so John likely had his eye on the acquisition at the time of his recommendation.]). This 10- to 12-minute test is done over the telephone or using a computer and is automatically scored. It is designed for K-12. Although there is likely to be a lot of skepticism about it, there has been a lot of research gone into validating the test (though I can't find any validation data for anyone under age 12) and it has been adopted by the Dutch government, which has concluded that in its use there is "no difference between human and machine scoring".

I remember seeing Jared Bernstein, Ordinate's president, explain his products at a JALT conference about six years ago. Everyone in the room wanted desperately to believe him, but most of us couldn't really bring ourselves to do so. When I actually tried out their PhonePass test, though, I was quite impressed with the results.

Bernstein said at the time that they had a longer version of the test, but it was no more accurate than the shorter version. Still, they made it available as a security blanket. The other odd thing that I remember about it was that the scores were out of some odd number like 13 (that may not be right). Their current tests report scores in the range from 20 to 80, but it seems to me that score users would prefer scores out of 100.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

For Better Grammar or for Worse

Is "good grammar" really that difficult to learn? I suppose it depends how far your primary dialect diverges from the target dialect. There's probably a Goldilocks distance. If your dialect is already very close, you're less likely to notice any differences. If, on the other hand, it's too far away, then there will be many things to learn.

This is likely to be true in both directions. But it will depend on a certain awareness of your own dialect as being distinct. I've never been able to identify a Canadian merely on their pronunciation of out or about, but I've been tagged as Canadian because of it a goodly number of times--and by people who have far less interest in language than I do.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

ELT Business News

A few notables from the corporate world of English Language Teaching:
  1. Lado language schools in Japan have gone bankrupt. There are rumours that the union had just reached some sort of deal with the management days before the bankruptcy.
  2. It seems that Thompson Learning, will be bought out by Bertelsmann.
Both items via ELT News.

The frogs are singing!

No, nothing at all to do with English. Just a beautiful spring evening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Slant Room

Excitement about my brother's first collection of poetry, Slant Room, being accepted for publication by Porcupine's Quill (PQL)! It's not coming out until 2009, mind you, but that's the pace at which these things proceed I'm told. In fact, Michael had been shopping the book around for well over a year but had received few responses. A fortuitous exchange with Zachariah Wells at Career Limiting Moves, though, led to an offer within days.

Michael has won numerous awards including Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize and the John Haines Poetry Award from Ice-Floe. He was also shortlisted for the 2005 CBC Literary Award. You can read his poem "Translations of Willow" here, and "Castor Gulo (poem of a beaver becoming a wolverine)" here.

I enjoy his adventurousness with language. One of the distinctive ticks of his style is bold anthimeria, as in this excerpt:
The tightship freshet lifeboats overboard to sea,
floats the saltlick surface glassy green.
Or this:
The hinge of ladder stepped
beneath the window kilters on the grass, and flies the woozy
shadow from the kitchen trying to stop it
Kilter, now there's a good verb. In practice, and in Michael's poetry, anthimeria mostly takes the form of making verbs from nouns, or verbing.

He also plays with licensing nonstandard complements, for example, by using intransitive verbs transitively, as he does here:
The houses round the cul-
de-sac are gutted, all the windows smashed,
poplars suckering the yards.
It would be nice to have some more intact poems to look at. I'll try to convince him to let me put a new piece online.

By the way, it seems that there are too many people with the name Michael Reynolds out there and he's considering using "Michael E. Reynolds" or "Michael Eden Reynolds." Any thoughts?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sequencing vocabulary

Bob Parks is an educational lexicographer with Wordsmyth. He was exploring the idea that
"a less frequent term might be more important (to receive attention in an ESL class) if it is a superordinate of other more frequent terms whose similarity/semantic relations might not be obvious...

The point is that although "fruit" might be less frequent than "apple" or "pear", it could be considered more "important" because it acts as a vessel into which other instances can be organized and remembered. And conversely, "apple" may be more frequent than "pear" but equal in its "importance" for vocabulary learning."
My feeling is that although his idea is intuitively appealing, it depends on choosing the right examples. As a general rule, hypernyms will be more common than their hyponyms (up to the point of abstraction*). Fruit occurs 40 times per million words in the BNC, while apple occurs only 26. Cooking apple turns up but once, and newtown wonder (a kind of cooking apple) occurs not at all. If we take this the other way, food comes in at 187. This certainly looks like a good rule of thumb.

But it isn't the only possible relationship. If we look at rhetorical tropes, we get a very different pattern. Metaphor scores 9 to figure(s) of speech's 0.5 and trope's 0.18. If we drill down, we get mixed metaphor, dead metaphor, frozen metaphor and synesthetic metaphor, all of which are necessarily less common than metaphor itself.

I think it would be a tough job to convince anyone that trope is a more important word to teach than metaphor merely by dint of its being a direct hypernym. Nor would you get many takers for zeugma or synedoche just because they're sister terms. I don't think it is semantic relationships that matter but frequency.

*When I say "up to the point of abstraction", I mean that once you get higher than 'food' you start dealing with more abstract concepts like substance, matter, or physical entity, none of which are likely to be particularly common.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Marvin Kitman takes a humourous look at the recent paroxysm of American apologies.

"Wow. What was going on here, I asked myself. Was this National Apology Week?

The guilty were standing up and taking the blame for mistakes. It was Mea Culpa, instead of the usual Theyaculpa, where the culprit blames the media or anybody else."

Indeed, mea culpa is often preceded by theyaculpa. (There's more ~aculpa play on Language Log.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fading eh?

Listen to this article

The Toronto Star has an article about the retreat of the Canadian eh. It was prompted by a study (summarised here) by Sali Tagliamonte, a sociolinguist at the University of Toronto.

The article compares the frequency of I, and, like and eh in the speech of Torontonians, concluding that eh occurs "only" 519 times "accounting for a piddly 0.02% of the total."

Well, Zipf's law tells us that the percent of the total for any given word drops off very quickly. Let's look at a more meaningful measure. First of all, we should standardise our count. In Tagliamonte's corpus, 519 times is 228 times per million words. Now we can rank that against other counts, such as the frequency of words in the spoken conversation subcorpus of the British National Corpus. Doing so would put eh at the 364th most common word, right between everybody and paper. Not so piddly. On the other hand, eh in the BNC is almost twice as common, occuring 460 times per million words, or ranking 236th, so maybe the unique Canadianess of eh is questionable.

Tagliamonte's research just looks at eh at one point in time, so it's hard to make strong claims about any changes, but in an attempt to get around that problem, she's looked at use at different ages. The following chart is from her site:

I'm not sure what exactly the left axis is a percent of. Most likely it is a total of all the tags, but unless the age groups sample sizes were balanced, this could be hard to interpret. [April 17th, I now have confirmation that it is total of all tags, and that the sample sizes were balanced.] Whatever it is, it seems that eh is very unpopular among 17-29 year olds. Does that mean that eh is changing over time, or just that people prefer different tags at various stages in their lives?

For more about the meaning eh, see Mark Liberman's post here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Verbless clauses with garden paths

will begin recalling 38,500 PT Cruiser sedans next month to
replace rear quarter glass with defective fasteners that can
allow the glass to fall out.
With can be a complement to the verb replace in the form replace x with y. It can also occur as a comitative adjunct ascribing a property to another entity. In other words, it can mean x that has y. The latter is certainly the intended meaning, but it wasn't the one that first jumped to mind.

I often suggest to lower-level students that they combine two sentences, such as those below, using with.
  • I have a nice watch. It has three buttons on one side.
  • Becomes: I have a nice watch with three buttons on one side.
Generally, you can do this with a simple sentence that has have as the main verb. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls these "verbless clauses" because they have subject + predicate structure.

Clearly, though, it's not always the best choice, as Chrysler's recall notice shows.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Clogging your machinery of comprehension in Mauritius

English language education seems to be decried the world over. Mauritius is no different. Writes Raj Paneken,
"The downward trend in English language is attributable to three factors, namely grammar errors, usage of correct tenses and vocabulary spiced with orthography. With an anaemic vocabulary along with a sketchy knowledge of grammar and verbs, the student writes but gropingly."

Rote learning & vocabulary

Listen to this article

Over on the TESL-L list there has been a renewed round of skepticism about the value of rote learning as applied to vocabulary learning.

Before the idea that language acquisition is an innate human ability became widely accepted, rote learning was among the most common methods used by people studying foreign languages, just as it was and still is for acquiring a wide variety of other knowledge and skills. The innateness theory, however, led people to believe that language was somehow special and different, and rote learning fell out of favour. However, language is not the inseparable entity that this idea suggests. Phonology, syntax and vocabulary are all interrelated, but the learnability of each is different.

When researchers talk about an innate language ability, they are not talking about vocabulary. There may be a critical period for acquiring syntax and phonology, but vocabulary is not constrained in this way. Indeed, while a normal child of six has mostly mastered the syntax and phonology of their first language, they have learned only a fraction of their adult vocabulary and will continue to pick up new words and expressions at a fairly constant rate until they complete university. Even then, the deceleration in vocabulary learning has more to do with the dearth of new words in the environment than with the brain.

What I take from this is that vocabulary is learned more or less like any other kind of knowledge or skill. If you look at experts in most areas, from golfers to chess players to doctors to painters, they have spent massive amounts of time observing other experts, massive amounts engaged in the performance of their craft, and massive amounts of time practicing independent aspects thereof, that is learning by rote. This suggest that rote learning, done well, potentially has a significant role to play in learning vocabulary.

The difference between learning chess or painting and learning a language, is that with the first two, you can actually try them out almost right away. You may lose your first five chess games, but you will have spent an enjoyable afternoon doing so. Moreover, most people have no expectations of mastering chess. They're quite satisfied to stay at or near the level at which they began. Not so with language.

Comparatively speaking, there is much more needed in terms of second language vocabulary before you can really start to employ it either receptively or productively. And many people have this notion that they will one day be fluent in the language that they are studying.

Yet far from receiving an instant payback, language learners often find the horizon of proficiency receding into the distance as they progress and the tedium of rote practice begins to overwhelm them before they notice their results. People trying to exercise and be healthy run into similar problems.

This is a long way of saying that all the research we have tells us that rote learning, DONE WELL, is a powerful way to increase vocabulary quickly, but that it is only the disciplined student with sufficient motivation who is likely to travel this route very far.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In my Language I am Smart

Language Hat links to this 2005 audio-art piece by Serbian-born journalist Dragon Todorovic. Anyone who has had to function in another language knows exactly what he means.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Listen to this article

Mr. Verb's Mr. Verb (variously characterised as mysterious, enigmatic, and ever-vigilant) ended a recent post about the line "Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for intermission. Please intermiss" with the apt observation that intermish would have been too odd and intermit too bookish, but that intermiss was "like Goldilocks' third bear said: 'just right'."

I think my first encounter with the Goldilocks trope was quite recent, and at the time I found it rather arresting. It seems that I wasn't alone. Recently it has been been spreading like a bad BBC science story. Just to make sure this isn't a recency illusion, I did a quick search of Canadian news sources.

The oldest instance I could find was: "The food fits the Goldilocks formula: not too good, not too bad, just right" in The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont.: Aug 25, 1979. pg. P.7 by Adele Freedman, who used it a number of times in the late 70s and early 80s.

The trail then goes cold until the late 80s when we find: ''I call it the Goldilocks approach _ not too big, not too small, but just right." in The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ont.: Dec 6, 1988. pg. D.16 by Tony Atherton. From then on, there are a few hits a year, but more and more of these are in titles, such as "Goldilocks jury finds sentence is just right"; [Final Edition] The Gazette. Montreal, Que.: Feb 11, 1989. p. A.7.

Most recently, there have been multiple uses per month, one example being "Goldilocks scenario proves right tonic for stocks" John Heinzl. The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont.: Feb 1, 2007. p. B.15. And a Google news search for [Goldilocks "just right" -"three bears"] turns up multiple hits per week.

Perhaps Paul Davies' book, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?, which came out in 2006, is one major vector for the recent popularity of this trope. Or not.

The thing that makes the Goldilocks fad, amusing though it is, rather ineffective is that
the allusion itself doesn't appear to be very Goldilocks; it's too opaque to dispense with its accompanying "just right".

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bain on rhetoric

Listen to this article

My weekend encounter with Alexander Bain reminded me of my second posting on this blog. At the time, I mentioned my confusion about the writing instruction that was part of our EAP program. When I came to my current position, our 8-level intensive English language program had upper-level students write "extended paragraphs" of 300-500 words. These were not merely monster paragraphs forming part of an assignment; each was to be a complete mini-essays.

We've managed to move away from assigning paragraphs, but there are many other questionable rules of writing that continue to permeate college writing textbooks and seduce composition teachers. Alexander Bain appears to be behind a number of them.

According to James A. Berlin's Writing Instruction in Nineteenth-Century American Colleges, paragraph writing (as opposed to composition broadly speaking) got its start in the (North) American college system in the 19th century at a time when college writing was growing in popularity--growing to the point where many classes had daily compositions. The move to paragraphs was partially as a response to the overwhelming amount of marking required from longer compositions. Berlin writes,
"Alexander Bain, a Scottish rhetorician, was the first to discuss the (paragraph) systematically. Having studied actual paragraphs, Bain prescribed a set of six rules:
  1. Each sentence must be related to that which preceded it;
  2. parallel thought must employ parallel structure;
  3. The first sentence of a paragraph should indicate the subject;
  4. Each sentence should be appropriately situated within the paragraph;
  5. The paragraph must display unity, and;
  6. Principal and subordinate parts must be appropriately arranged...
Bain also tended to look upon the six rules as principles without exception, as did those who followed him in their use in the classroom."
He goes on to say that A. D. Hepburn, under Bain's influence, was likely the first, in his 1875 A Manual of English Rhetoric, to argue that a paragraph was a “discussion in miniature”, proposing paragraph types such as definition, contrast, and illustration.