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Example (short audio clip):

And I stress this point because I will get programmers tell me that they're fine with one-dimensional arrays and maybe they get two, but beyond that they think it gets kind of weird and geeky and esoteric and maybe you need some kind of special mental clockwork to deal with it all. And you don't, and you're doing yourself a disservice to think that way. Because if you understand the idea of a phone bill for a cell phone family plan, you already understand the idea of a multidimensional data structure and why we need one. Okay, you might not have the syntax down cold, but syntax can go hang. We can deal with that later. It's the concept that comes first.

What do you think that means?

  • It's from the idiom go hang (yourself): "You say that someone can go hang (himself or herself) if you do not care what that person says or does about something": If she's expecting the report by tomorrow she can go hang herself. – CowperKettle Aug 5 '15 at 5:17
  • He doesn't say "syntax can go hang itself". "itself" is not there and I assume that must be for a reason. – Michael Rybkin Aug 5 '15 at 5:22
  • 1
    It's sorta like "syntax be damned; just get on with the task!" – Brian Hitchcock Aug 5 '15 at 7:46
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+50

I think that this could mean that the author is saying the syntax doesn't matter so screw it or it can 'go hang' like what other people said.

It could also mean that the syntax doesn't matter at the moment so for now let's not worry about it because there are bigger problems to fix.

('Hang it' (forget about it) and come back to it when the other problems are fixed.)

It's also possible that he means all of the above or a mix between them.

6

It's from the idiom go hang (yourself):

"You say that someone can go hang (himself or herself) if you do not care what that person says or does about something":
If she's expecting the report by tomorrow she can go hang herself.
(from the Cambridge Dictionary)

The author omits the reflexive pronoun itself, using an abridged version of the idiom, making it shorter (and probably cooler) to pronounce.

Okay, you might not have the syntax down cold, but syntax can go hang (itself).


You say that

He doesn't say "syntax can go hang itself". "itself" is not there and I assume that must be for a reason.

The only reason I could come up with is that computer programs sometimes hang, but I'm not sure if the author wanted to make a pun here. I think he just automatically used the widespread idiom "go hang".

I've listened to the audio snippet, and it doesn't appear to convey any "punny" feeling.

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