Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CHOOSY MOTHERS CHOOSE:  The creator of the Graphics Interchange Format for computer files (.gif), Steve Wilhite, is wrong, wrong, wrong:
“The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Mr. Wilhite said. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”


  1. White House says "Hard G":

    To me, because Graphic, for which the G stands, is a hard G, so should the acronym/extension be pronounced.

    Also, I'd feel like more of an idiot saying "jiff" in meetings than "gif."

  2. christy in nyc11:22 AM

    It's not for him to say. Also I find it curious that this exploded yesterday, because this is not new information, that the creators of the format pronounce it with a soft G. Because it's the only leg soft-G-only purists have to stand on.

  3. Adam B.11:28 AM

    Well, as some have argued, sonar is Sound Navigation And Ranging, but we'd never pronounce it sow-nar.

    But "jiff" is still wrong.

  4. I feel like there's a stronger case for maintaining a consonant sound than a vowel sound. Don't ask me why, cause I don't know.

  5. The hard G in graphic was why I always pronounced it with a hard G, but I'm not sure that reasoning stands up. Otherwise, a CD-ROM would be a CD-"rome" and a .wav file is a "wahv."

    (And if anyone doesn't mind being off-topic, what was I supposed to do with the punctuation inside the quotation marks above? I was taught punctuation goes inside the quotes, but that doesn't look right to me.)

  6. We should just pronounce it "SNAR." I assume that they went with SONAR because it was partnered with RADAR, which really doesn't lend itself to a one-syllable acronym.

    In any event, I have no patience for the Jiffers. The only way that makes sense is if your format is intended for exchanging giraffes.

  7. Oops. I took too long writing, and Watts already answered my objections. Sorry.

  8. Duvall11:55 AM

    Wait, so prescriptivism only applies when other people are rejecting the original usage? I guess the Grammar Rodeo has been cancelled forever.

  9. We've been using .gifs (hard g) at work for years. Not for animated clips of Ken Cosgrove dancing but for product images on our website. It's never occurred to any of us to pronounce it with a soft g. I'm firmly Team Hard G.

    What's next? Pronouncing .jpg as juhpuhguh?

  10. The Pathetic Earthling12:54 PM

    It has never occurred to me to pronounce it as "GIF" -- I'm with "JIF"

    And I always pronounced jpg as "JAY-peg"

  11. The Pathetic Earthling1:25 PM

    I'm sorry. How would you pronounce it other than SOW-nar?

  12. Marsha2:57 PM

    Only Ted Chow-guh-guh would pronounce it that way.

  13. Marsha3:02 PM

    G before I in English isn't a hard-and-fast rule, unfortunately (not that anything in English lends itself to rules) but it never occurred to me that it wouldn't be a hard G. Perhaps it's because it's a hard G in "gift."

  14. Hannah Lee11:32 PM

    Jif is something I used to put on toast. Gifs are the little filey things. That is all