A recent post by Martin Shovel on the Creativity Works blog uses the Wordle website to support an interesting argument that David Cameron is a better speaker than Gordon Brown because he used fewer words of Latin origin in his conference speech than the prime minister did in his.
This reminded me of something I'd written in Lend Me Your Ears in the section comparing written and spoken language (pp. 79-80):
Using words that are hardly ever heard in everyday speech will also make it more difficult for an audience to understand the point you’re trying to get across. For example, the two columns in the example below contain sentences that convey the same message, but the lines on the left and right use different words. Just how much difference the alternative wording makes to the degree of formality and comprehensibility becomes very apparent as soon as you try reading the two versions aloud.
We shall endeavour to commence
the enhancement programme forthwith
in order to ensure that
there is sufficient time
to facilitate the dissemination of
the relevant contractual documentation
to purchasers ahead of the renovations
being brought to completion.
We shall try to begin
the repairs immediately
there’s enough time
to buyers before the work