or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hung Up

Why do you always have to saw everything?

Apropos of nothing whatever, Boingboing.net links to the National Film Board of Canada's website: they've just made available a whole bunch of short animated films which, let's face it, is what they're best known for, such films' having been nominated for, and also having won, quite a few Academy Awards as well as many other awards worldwide. Just trust me on this: go there and watch Cordell Barker's "The Cat Came Back" (featuring, bar none, the most delightful sound ever made by a cat or any other living creature), David Fine and Alison Snowden's "George and Rosemary" (the sound design alone--just listen to the dog's toenails on the sidewalk!--is brilliant), and Richard Condie's Oscar-winning "The Big Snit" (a miniature comedy about domestic strife and global thermonuclear war) and see if you aren't in a better mood.


However. Another Boingboing article depicts clothes-hangers with city skylines laser-cut into the bottom portion: charming, if fairly useless (since the interesting part will usually be covered by clothing), but the headline on the piece reads

Clothes hangars with cityscapes cut into the bottom bar

and that's just wrong.

"Hanger" is formed in the usual way, with the suffix "-er" tacked onto a verb to turn it into a noun meaning "one who" or "something which"; a hanger, therefore, is something on which we hang a thing. "Hangar", on the other hand, is unrelated; it would pretty much have to be, since "-ar" as a suffix means something else entirely, "of or related to"--"polar", "registrar", "cultivar". And, it turns out, "hangar" doesn't even have a suffix: it's intact from the French, who formed it from, it would seem, a pair of words that are cognate with English "home-guard", a shed or enclosure near a main building such as a house. I know there are lots of similar words in English, but the rules are the rules: a hanger is something you can hang things on, a hangar isn't.


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