Over the years, I’ve grown an affinity for simple language. I’ve noticed that I hate “big” words. They tend to complicate things. Most of the books I’ve read all have simple language that a wide range of people can understand. I think that’s the reason why I dislike reading academic journals or papers; they’re just full of words that I’m not familiar with. I find myself having to google words in between readings, which disrupts the flow of my reading. That’s how I feel about “big” words, they just disrupt reading flows.
I was reading Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue a couple of weeks ago, and I understood her point completely. Besides it being about the different vernaculars of English, there was a part where she points out that she wrote The Joy Luck Club in a form that her mother would be able to understand. Now her mother is an Asian immigrant, so her English isn’t “perfect”.
Things don’t always have to be overly complicated. When you’re writing something, the point of writing is for your audience to understand what you’re communicating (for me, at least). When you start to add words that many people aren’t familiar with, it tends to affect how individuals receive the message you’re trying to convey.
If you compare best-selling novels, you can see that a lot of them don’t have complicated language. They stay simple and easy-to-read. Personally, I write trying to keep my audience in mind. If I’m writing for a professor, I’ll throw in a few vocabulary words, but if I’m writing to appeal to the “normal person”, I like to keep things rather simple and comprehensible. It’s not because I think people aren’t capable of understanding vocabulary words, but I want them to have an easy time reading my writing. If it’s easy to read and understandable, then I achieved my writing’s purpose.