Latin vs. Anglo-Saxon
The words derived from Latin are the enemy--they will strangle and suffocate everything you write. The Anglo-Saxon words will set you free...
--Zinsser, "Writing English as a Second Language"
Reading this brought me back to a topic I discussed in Dr. Jerz's J-Term EL 250 Video Game Culture and Theory course a few weeks ago. In a discussion about Children's Online Game play and Policies, we found ourselves analyzing Terms of Service Agreements (TOS). In my blog, as well as many of my peer's blogs, we acknowledged that many TOS agreements are bogged down with tons of technical jargon that no one understands or really cares to. A great example, which I included in my other entry is the NeoPets TOS. Unlike most websites, this one offers two TOS agreements--a "kid-friendly" version and the "full" version. In the "kid-friendly" version, they use smaller words, Algo-Saxon words, if you will. But, in the "full" version, they fill the text with Latin-based words that cause people to just hit "I agree" without wasting their time.
On a lighter note, it makes sense that Zinsser would have a problem with the longer, more complicated Latin-based words. When we write journalism pieces, we're encouraged to not necessarily "dumb-down" our prose, but to simply make it understandable by as large of an audience as possible.