back to article Word wonks insist GIFs are really JIFs

Not content with somehow managing to proclaim ‘GIF’ the USA’s word of the year for 2012, the lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries now insist that the correct pronunciation of the word does not use a hard g, as in golf. The dictionary chose GIF as its word of the year because the USA has gone GIF-crazy. Making satirical GIFs …

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I used to pronounce it with a hard G because I had only read it and I assume that's how an English speaker automatically would pronounce it unless specifically learned otherwise. Of course, there are words like "giraffe" but these are learned. I think the soft G exceptions are generally learned and for most people "gif" would mainly be read first, and they would default to the hard G.

However, over a decade ago I read that the creators wanted it to be "jiff" so I switched to that, much to the annoyance of nearly everyone I meet. I think using the hard G must be in the majority since anyone who hasn't read that it should be "jiff" would automatically pronounce it as "gif". Most people will have read the word first rather than hear the word first.

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Anonymous Coward

giant ginger giraffe gillete gibberish gif gigantic ginseng gipsy gigolo gin - hardly uncommon

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Silver badge

But oddly not

"to gib" despite that being a common pronunciation.

I feel old now.

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Meh

Serious commentard fodder

Not that it matters how one pronounces it, but...

If you say "gif", there is no confusion.

If you say "jif", that could be construed as other things.

Gif's away - who uses them anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

The creator of the format even says it is pronounced jif!

http://www.olsenhome.com/gif/

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Timely.

I hear geocities is the webhost of choice, too.

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Silver badge

The format that won't die

Why aren't we using PNGs these days?

Oh, and for the record, I say GIF as in GIve or Gaga or GImble.

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Mushroom

Re: The format that won't die

PNG's ? Those would be "Pee En Jays" then, right ?

Or why not stick with the slightly lossy but perfectly acceptable "Jay-Pedge" (JPEG) ?

And instead of animated GIF's, Em-Pedges (MPEGs) ?

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Anonymous Coward

FOLDOC

FOLDOC (http://foldoc.org/gif) has it as hard 'g', but notes use of soft - for what it is worth.

Pronunciation is often regional; I get irritated when Brits pronounce schedule with an 'sk' rather than 'sj' - but not enough to pick them up on it. For the Americans I just accept it as their accepted pronunciation.

Zed and Zee is another. Eyeraq is pushing it though ;-)

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Linux

Does it depend on .....

.. whether you are using Line-ux or Linn-ux?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does it depend on .....

I pronounce Linus, Lie-nuss so I pronounce Linux, Lie-nux

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Re: Does it depend on .....

If you listen to the man himself it's probably closer to Lee-nux but being completely ignorant of Finnish I can make no further comment!

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Re: Does it depend on .....

Linn-ux in your example.

The closest way to that which you pronounce Linus in his native tongue is surely the only correct way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does it depend on .....

I agree, and call it Linn-ux, with a kind of 'ooks' sound that simply can't be written in any way that makes sense to English readers, trying to emulate the recording I heard of Linus saying it, doing the English thing of converting a "Leeen" sound coming from a foreigner into "Linn".

However, it does kind of raise the question of why I don't call Paris 'Par-eee' like the French do, Roma for Rome, etc........ and why I get so irritated by Budape-SHH-t or SHH-ri Lanka coming from pretentious newsreaders :)

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Re: Does it depend on .....

Linus Torvalds himself said a few back that he'd conceded to majority opinion and that it should just be pronounced Lie-nux these days, presumably as he'd got bored trying to correct everyone to saying linn-ooks.

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FAIL

It's not pronounced Jif

Really it's not

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IT Angle

Oh Lord, not this one again?

Slow news day?

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Headmaster

GIF vs JIF

On a slight tangent . . try Norwegians . . who not using the letter "W" at the start of words often will claim to drive a "Bay Emm Vay" (phonetically) they give people that say "Bay Emm Dobbel-Vay" a funny look . . Yeah we pronounce letters a bit different over here, but generally I take a name with a W to include that and not arbitrarily swap to another letter.

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Re: GIF vs JIF

Danes do the same thing.

VW is said "vv". Makes no sense, is thoroughly retarded.

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People who don't read up...

It's very publicly been known as having a soft G since its instigation, and the request of the owners. You may have been pronouncing it with a hard G for all that time, and it's more recently become explicitly accepted that this is okay, but historically the hard G was plain wrong, if common. These days I don't bite anyone's head off over it (though I still twitch whenever my colleagues say it with a hard G), but I'm not going to take people claiming that a soft G is wrong.

For the record, Linux historically came with an indication that Linus preferred it either to be pronounced as he did (sort of Leenuss, as I recall), with a secondary preference that one should pronounce it as one would pronounce his name (in my case, natively, Lie-nuss). He didn't like people attempting to pronounce it like his name and getting it wrong, as in "linnux". I believe he has since changed his mind on this, not least because "Linnucks" is so common. I still say "Lie-nucks".

Oh, and Risk-Oh-Ess, for what it's worth.

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Tittilating, maybe?

"JIGaHertz," she said, [g]iggling.

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Bronze badge

BS, it's an acronym, as inG.I.F. i.e. hard G

We only say Gif as a contracted form of the acronym, much like a I say squeal for SQL :)

anyhow, PNG is way better than GIF and better that JPG when you need details to stay intact.

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Right!

With you in a jiff!

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