22 MAY 1993, Page 25

Sir: I always find Dot Wordsworth's remarks about language interesting.

How- ever, the subject can easily give rise to strong passions and in her disparagement of 'self-deprecating' she must have pro- voked many right-minded people (Mind your language, 17 April).

First, if she claims that 'self-deprecatory is simply meaningless, it is a self-contradic- tion to then bemoan a 'loss' of meaning.

Second, the 'current usage' of self-depre- cating is well-established, and it is for this reason that it is uncommon to hear people use the obscure word 'self-depreciating'. Lawrence Durrell was quite happy to use `self-deprecatory' as long ago as 1957 in Justine. (For example, on page 45: . . the dazed and self-deprecating way she bowed to the lukewarm applause.') If a cause is lost, should it not be aban- doned?

Mark Godfrey

110 Liberton Brae, Edinburgh, Scotland