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  • The emigrant's destiny: The foreign country has not become home, but home has become foreign.

    --Alfred Polger (d. 1955), Der Emigrant und die Heimat

    Emigranten-Schicksal: Die Fremde ist nicht Heimat geworden. Aber die Heimat Fremde.

    Between 2007 and 2009, I lived in Los Angeles after living in Paris for many years. My Paris blog (before and after my Los Angeles sojourn) is Rue Rude.

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    « Give sorrow words | Main | Protecting the environment »

    08 March 2008

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    This is just my opinion, but Americans have never really needed to text before.

    Just think about it - here in France, where it used to cost 30 cents per minute to call a cell-phone from a house phone, and 50 cents per minute from a cell-phone to another cell-phone, a ten-centime text was the cheapest option.

    Whereas in the US, there is no extra charge to call a cell from a fixe (nor do you pay by the minute), and everybody has an over-abondance of cell minutes (plus free long distance, free nights & weekends, free in-network calling, etc), so they don't need to conserve their airtime. So it's always just been easier to pick up the phone and call someone. If the phone cost as much as it did in France, we would've picked up on texting a lot sooner.

    But nowadays, the younger kids are so used to chatting and whatnot online, that for them, texting is just a natural extension of the internet.

    Thanks Samantha! I knew there had to be a reason. I've lived in France so long that the high charges seemed reasonable to me and I just used texting instead. Now it's the Americans who seem unreasonable. Because all the same-- a text has got to cost the phone company less than a phone call, wouldn't you think?

    I (50 year old that I am) have only recently started texting. I find that my communications with my 15 year old are much more clear than if I just call him. No more, "MOM you didn't tell me that".

    All our new phone plans have very inexpensive texting. I think Americans have just come late to the party so to speak.

    I agree that Americans have just come to the party late. I'm 34 and all of my friends text message. We prefer it to calling. It saves time versus calling. Texting is usually used to try to meet up somewhere. Therefore, there's no need to have a full conversation just before you're going to meet in person. Also, it could be a regional thing. I live on the East Coast in Virginia.

    Language Log has a post on this very subject today : Language Log: What's the difference?

    I think your acquaintance set the bar a little young at 20 unless I am completely out of step with my fellow college students, which I don't think is the case. Over 30, perhaps, or over 35ish... I'm not sure exactly where the line generally is, but I can certainly tell you that my parents, who are 56 years old, do not text. I don't know if they even know how (my mother definitely doesn't, but she's never been one for technology).

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    Today's quotation

    • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

        –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

      À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

    Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

    • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.