20 MAY 1995, Page 30

Epistolary exegesis

Sir: As an avid reader of your magazine, I am pleased to see that its circulation is increasing. I feel, however, that it would appeal even more to the average reader if your contributors would refrain from using arcane words (like arcane) when more easily understood words are just as effective. I am English born, educated at an English grammar school, and gained an 'A' level in English Language for my School Certificate; yet even I find difficul- ty with some of your contributors' vocabu- lary.

I give an example from a recent issue, with my own translation into what is now commonly understood and spoken English:

porcine — piggish apercu — insight (or summary) explication — reason egregious — awful proselytise — preach obfuscate — tell lies derationated — not in any of my dictionaries disquisition — an essay oxymoron — use of contradictory terms hegemony — domination revisionism — doctrinal or theological dis- agreement anomie — lack of social graces polity — form of government demography — population statistics orthography — spelling collegiality — not in OED or Collins

I was able to define half of the above. I would suggest that 95 per cent of your potential future readership, i.e. those under the age of 35, would fail on all 16. Dot Wordsworth, please comment.

Donald Froud

62 Vale do Lobo, 8135 Almancil, Algarve, Portugal