Friday, February 26, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

Have you ever noticed that in Jordan, you "give" someone a missed call. It's one of things that the first time I heard it struck me a really strange. Now, I even use it myself. But think about it, we say it as if we're giving someone the most precious gift. Okay, I'm giving you a missed call. When you try and express the thought properly in English (for those not from here), it's convoluted and almost painful. You know, listen, I'm going to call you but don't answer and then you can save my number. How inelegant is that?

El3atal and I were discussing the practice that has led to the terminology and he explained it spot-on. In the US, you're charged from the second that you hit the call button, not when the other party answers. As a result, no one would call your number so that you'd have their cell phone number. They're using time to do that. With some cell carriers, they're using a full minute no matter how long the call actually takes... And so, giving someone a missed call isn't something an American would say, because it's not something they'd do...

Funny how language follows usage (kind of like the "form follows function" adage from architecture and design). So, really, I guess that the missed call IS a gift that keeps on giving...

Happy Missed Opportunities!

3 Comments:

At 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've been away from the US for a while...

 
At 2:53 AM , Blogger Nicole said...

My husband has often wished the US had the same cell phone plans as here. It is so much easier to just buy time on a card and put as much as you want. And then there are the other fees and such that are attached to the plans. And you might have to buy a phone which only works with a certain plan, etc. We have more cell phone freedom here. But you never know, that might change...

 
At 5:43 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Anonymous, indeed I have, nearly 4 years. Do you say you're going to give folks missed calls now? Did I miss a new piece of vernacular? Or is it that the plans have improved drastically and now you are charged only for talk time, not air time? We have a pre-paid phone which, as Nicole said, charges for air time, not talk time and the phone only works with it. But, things change, what do you see that's improved while we've been here?

Nicole, exactly.

 

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