Should communicators avoid Latin-based words?

One writer calls for a war on words with their roots in ancient Rome. Others say Cicero is perfect for the age of Twitter.

Back in college I took an independent study in Anglo-Saxon, and the professor started our first lesson by sitting with his eyes half-closed and reciting from Beowulf.

He might as well have been speaking Elvish. Anglo-Saxon—also known as Old English—is so alien to modern speakers that it may seem irrelevant to communicators.

But if you want to beef up your prose, some writers urge you to avoid Latin-based words whenever there’s an alternative rooted in Old English. Others scoff at the notion.

The question being raised is this: Is Cicero, the storied Roman orator, right for the age of Twitter?

“Anglo Saxon words also tend to be shorter, punchier and more direct; whereas Latin words tend to be longer and more abstract,” blogs Sarah Turner, a London business writer.

“I’m not saying strip your writing of Latin words altogether. But if you’re writing a business letter or sales copy, and you need to get to your point across as quickly and as easily as possible, Anglo-Saxon is the way to go.”

Germanic invasion

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