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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  1. web_bod
    WTF?

    Is this *actual* news - as in currently happening in2012?

    Who uses Gifs nowadays and what happened to bring them to the attention of the OED?

    1. Deebster

      *Animated* GIFs

      MNGs haven't really taken off so this crappy format is still all over the place.

      Observe: https://plus.google.com/s/%23gif

    2. mark 63 Silver badge
      Joke

      Pronouncing thing that begin with a G as a J???

      Your avin a Jiraffe!

    3. Wade Burchette
      Paris Hilton

      I always pronounced "jif" because g before i has a j sound. Giraffe, gin, give. Oh wait, ignore that last one.

      Maybe we should just say GEE-EYE-EFF and be done with it.

  2. Demosthenese

    Huh?

    I always pronounced it 'jiff' - if anyone uses a hard 'g', I've not met them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huh?

      Funny that... I've never met anyone who pronounces it as jiff. Regional variations perhaps?

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: Huh?

      Where in the world do you live where you've only ever heard it pronounced that way?

    3. venneford

      Re: Huh?

      Been using GIF since at least 1990..

      Never heard jiff until the mid-2000's.

    4. Code Monkey

      Re: Huh?

      You know the "g" stands for "graphics"? Or do you pronounce that as "jraphics"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "g" for "graphics"

        Q: Or do you pronounce that as "jraphics"?

        A: I do if I've just created an amusing picture of a rather tall even-toed ungulate mammal of African origin.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: "g" for "graphics"

          Here here. GIF. Hard G. If it was a soft G, it would be a .jif file.

          Anyway, someone needs a huj.

      2. Piro

        Re: Huh?

        This. Exactly. Hard G. G for Golf.

        Graphics Interchange Format.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Huh?

          I used to say 'jif' when I first encountered it but then I heard everyone else saying 'GIF' and it seemed to make more sense that way (NW England).

          Jif to us is either a lemon juice in a squeezy bottle or a kitchen cleaner (although that now goes by the name of Cif)...

          1. Evan Essence

            Re: Huh?

            Jif to us is either a lemon juice in a squeezy bottle or a kitchen cleaner (although that now goes by the name of Cif)...

            Is that pronounced Kif or Sif? :)

            1. JohnG

              Re: Huh?

              Jif to us is either a lemon juice in a squeezy bottle or a kitchen cleaner (although that now goes by the name of Cif)...

              Is that pronounced Kif or Sif? :)

              No - but if we started calling it .JIF, we would soon have to change it to .CIF to keep the Germans happy.

            2. Code Monkey
              Coffee/keyboard

              Re: Huh?

              "Is that pronounced Kif or Sif? :)"

              I'm now open to the possibility that the thing I've sprayed coffee all over is pronounced "seyboard".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Joke

            Re: Huh?

            > although that now goes by the name of Cif

            Pronounced with a hard 'C' of course :D

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Huh?

            "Jif to us is either a lemon juice in a squeezy bottle or a kitchen cleaner (although that now goes by the name of Cif)..."

            Ah yeah Cif. Sounds like one particular STD (STI for the younger generation I believe) - A disease - that's what GIFs will be to the web if their poxy 256 colours make a comeback, except for misplaced nostalgia of course.

            1. Pedigree-Pete
              Happy

              Re: STD.

              You speak for yourself & your new generation. STD stands for that number you dial to telephone someone in another area. :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        jraphics?

        Wasn't there a movie (or three) about a load of these living in a park on an isolated island somewhere?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huh?

      "I always pronounced it 'jiff' - if anyone uses a hard 'g', I've not met them."

      Have you met anyone who pronounces it either way? No one really talks file types in general conversation.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Huh?

        Not general, "fancy a pint down the pub?" conversation maybe, but for me, as a former tech in an arts and print college, we'd come across it all the time. Like in conversations with DTP lecturers, web designers, students, commercial print clients...

  3. Herby Silver badge

    One could always ask Doc Brown

    He pronounced giga-watts as jigawatts which is the wrong way as well. Of course I sometimes call then giggle watts, or speeds of current processors as giggle hertz.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

      giggle watts is how much energy you put out when you're tickled.

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

      Jodie Foster ruined the movie 'Contact' when she mispronounced "primer" as "primmer".

      1. Zog The Undeniable
        FAIL

        Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

        And Stephen Rea ruins "V for Vendetta" by inexplicably pronouncing "lever" as "levver". After all that effort trying to get Natalie Portman to talk proper like what we does.

        1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

          Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

          I doubt Stephen Rae could have ruined V for Vendetta any more than it was already ruined.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

      And I always pronounced fsck as "fuck suck"

    4. Malcolm 1

      Re: One could always ask Doc Brown

      "jiggawatts" is an archaic pronunciation so is entirely plausible for a aged mad inventor such as Doc Brown.

  4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    I read in CU Amiga Magazine yeeears ago

    ... that it was pronounced 'jiff'.

    Come on, it's always been that way. Are you for real?? :/

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    "Jiffs" is the norm 'round here. Also: "jay-peg" for JPEG/JPGs.

    1. Kevin 6

      ditto by me don't think I ever heard anyone say it with a hard g

    2. Vortigern

      I hear "Jif" said even less often than people pronounce linux properly, like I don't.

      But what's the alternative way to say jay-peg?

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        "gay-peg"

        Though that brings to mind something completely different.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Maybe it should be jay-pay-j?

  6. eswierk

    The OED is obviously written by a bunch of jits.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Yeah, not like those guys in Cambrije.

  7. WatAWorld

    Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

    I'll pronounce it "jif" when people start talking about jifics artists and paper with squares on it is pronounced "jiff" paper.

    "The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), pronounced "JIF", was designed by CompuServe and the official specification released in June of 1987."

    By using an acronym the creators gave up the right to dictate pronunciation.

    A bit of IBM trivia here: In Canada CICS is pronounced "kicks" whereas the rest of the world pronounces it C.I.C.S.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      My real scientist friends pronounce PNAS as "P.N.A.S."

      I pronounce it "P-NAS" because I'm an immature jit.

    2. Paul M 1

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      Actually the CICS thing is probably more of an age thing. People who worked with it when it was developed in the US tend to still say C I C S whereas once it moved to Hursley the pronunciation changed.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

        No, Giraffic Artists on Giraffe paper.

        In Giraffic Park.

      2. Mint Sauce
        Go

        Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

        CICS was definitely pronounced 'kicks' when I went for a job at Hursley in the 90's. Although, as I sat waiting for my interview, I witnessed a large high-level meeting where they were trying to decide whether to put 'cubes' or 'rings' in the urinals... so I'm quite glad I didn't get the job ;-). Nice house tho.

        Oh, and for the record I have only ever heard/used the hard G GIF pronunciation.

        Hmm, time for a google map to work out the patterns methinks :-)

      3. Gronk

        Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

        The people I know that pronounce CICS as "kicks" range from people that have worked on it for many years to relatively new people. The new people probably picked up "kicks" from the older people.

    3. Anonymous IV

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      And the Noble British pronounced DOS as Doss, whereas Americans said D O S...

      1. Gronk

        Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

        I've only met a very few number of people in the US that say "D O S". Just about everyone else says "doss".

    4. FireBurn

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      We call it "kicks" here in Scotland too

    5. Anonymous Cowerd

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      Here in the UK we also pronounce it 'kicks'

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

        Same here to your east..

    6. Jack Ketch
      Trollface

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      I wonder how those who insist the correct pronunciation is with a hard 'g' pronounce PIN and pebkac.

      I'm willing to bet it isn't 'pine' and 'pebkat'.

    7. Wensleydale Cheese

      CICS vs C.I.C.S.?

      "A bit of IBM trivia here: In Canada CICS is pronounced "kicks" whereas the rest of the world pronounces it C.I.C.S."

      It's been a long time since I used the product, but my memory of its pronunciation in the UK was "kicks".

    8. Identity

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      When I was teaching this stuff, I told my students it could be pronounced either way, depending on whether you thought GIF stood for Graphic Interchange Format or General Interchange Format.

    9. Gronk

      Re: Was the vulture logo created by a jiffics artist on jiff paper?

      I know several mainframe CICS people in the US that also say "kicks".

  8. WatAWorld

    another case of revisionist history

    Maybe you young folks are calling them jifs, but if you were using computers back when Compuserve was still in business, I think you'd have been calling them GIFs with a hard G because at that tune the acronym was spread around with the words it was an acronym of (Graphics Interchange Format) and nowhere in the English speaking world is graphics pronounced with a soft "g".

    Compuserv did not provide a pronunciation guide -- it provided the words that the acronym was an acronym of.

    I've never heard GIF pronounced jif. If they wanted the J pronunciation they should have spelt it accordingly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: another case of revisionist history

      I was around back when GIFs were being used on CompuServe and elsewhere (mid nineties) and I have always pronounced GIF as "jiff". Whenever someone would say G'if it would stir me to irritation.

      For any furtherance of this discussion, anyone who says "I say it this way" or "I say it that way" should state what region they are from.

      I am from New York City

      and I proudly say JIFF!!!

      1. Kevin 6

        Re: another case of revisionist history

        chicago here and been on the net (and was a compuserv user) and always pronounced it jiff also went to a tech school with a lot of web programmers(about 40% of the student base) and every one used jiff too

    2. Franklin
      Thumb Down

      Re: another case of revisionist history

      Revisionist history? I recall seeing a GIF when the GIF89a standard had just been finalized, revising the older GIF87 standard with transparency and better compression. The first GIF89a-standard GIF I recall seeing was a photo of the standard's creator, Steve Wilhite, with a caption reading "By the way, it's pronounced 'jif'."

      CompuServe's own advertising pronounced it the same way, as I recall.

      1. wowfood

        Re: another case of revisionist history

        Gif over here in the south of the UK. I have never once heard anyone pronounce it Jiff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          As G stands for Graphics

          Seems pretty logical to have a hard 'g'.

          1. Ben Norris
            Thumb Down

            Re: As G stands for Graphics

            as P stands for Photographic do you pronounce it JFEG? no. Your logic is invalid

    3. Raist
      Thumb Down

      Re: another case of revisionist history

      I'd like to think I'm in that group of young folks but instead I'm on the net since bbs' ascii art... never heard GHIF until 2008, used JIFF for decades

    4. Ben Norris
      Thumb Down

      Re: another case of revisionist history

      The creator of the format pronounced it jiff! Do you say JFEG?

      Giant ginger gifs of giraffes

  9. Steve Knox
    Happy

    Funny, I always pronounced it

    to-MAY-to

  10. Martin Budden
    Headmaster

    G

    I'm in Australia, and I've never heard JIFF. Always the hard G GIF here. It stands for "Graphics Interchange Format", and because "Graphics" has a hard G so GIF must have a hard G too.

    What does bug me is when people pronounce SAP as one word: "sap". It's supposed to be "S. A. P.", and I should know because I used to be a professional SAP trainer, so there.

    1. Neoc

      Re: G

      Also from OZ, always heard it pronounced "ghif". and JPEG are "jay-peg". And SAP is "sap" (not "s.a.p."). CISCO is "sisko".

      I think the major difference is when you first started to learn about computers - I think we'd see some interesting correlations between age and pronunciation.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: G

        SAP is "sap", as in "sapping my will to live."

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          Coat

          Re: G

          Or as in; "You bought that POS? You poor sap......".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: G @ Neoc

        "I think the major difference is when you first started to learn about computers - I think we'd see some interesting correlations between age and pronunciation."

        I agree. Sad when you refer to a G.U.I. in an IT department meeting and get blank stares. Think they all tended to say "Sequel" as well as "gooey". I've always put it down to having seen them as acronyms before they became commonplace and someone thought it'd be kewl to - I forget the word for making an acronym into a word.

        1. MJI Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: G @ Neoc

          Well I call it a GUI, GIF as before G from Graphics

          SQL never got this sequel nonsence. Anyway SQuirreL sounds better, goes with GIraFfe.

          I prefer ISAM anyway, got about 10 lines of SQL in our system, however it is fun to use ISAM on an SQL select.

          NOTE: Some SQL servers started life as ISAM access client server engines and just grew extremely powerful filtering technology.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: G

      GIF in the UK

      SAP we call them the owners of Extended Systems

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Australia == G

      Hmm. I lived in Brisbane in the early 90's, and would have first heard the term then. Naturally, being in Austraila, I heard (and repronounced) it "jif".

  11. Irony Deficient

    the pronunciation of other acronyms

    PNG: /ˈpɪndʒ.i/ (“pindgy”).

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: the pronunciation of other acronyms

      To be honest, I just insert an 'i' and pronounce it 'ping'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the pronunciation of other acronyms

        And DFS is 'duuhhhrfs".

        Fonejacker FTW.

        1. Hyphen

          Re: the pronunciation of other acronyms

          I demand to know where I buy a Joovc television to watch my Doovdé on. Maybe I should buy one from Hoomv.

  12. Captain DaFt
    Coat

    Yeah yeah, I've always heard it pronounced with the the hard G, but nitpickers gotta pick.

    (After all, like the old peanut butter commercial said; "Choosy Mothers choose Jiff.")

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Holmes

      Choosy Mothers choose Jiff

      'Cause it starts with a 'J'.

  13. Jonathan Cohen
    FAIL

    JIF!!!

    I've was running an online BBS in the UK in the 80's before GIF files even existed and never heard it pronounced anything other than JIF. Recently I've heard a few (non-technical) people say "gif", but regarded that as excusable as those crazy Microsoft admins who say "sequel".

    In fact I had to re-read the article twice as I couldn't believe The Reg was complaining about the correct pronunciation!

    What next, people saying Gnome should be pronounced the same way as the garden variety?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: JIF!!!

      Agreed

      -- George Gregg the garden jnome.

  14. Notas Badoff
    Happy

    Oh what a whirled!

    Well, well, and well. Now let's move on to whether the bodger's bid for fame is spelled "kludge" or "kluge", and then by the bye we can find out the whimsical ways the out-of-touch pronounce this gem.

    Really, it depends on whether your pronunciation came via assumed reading/definition, or was transmitted orally. Golly, I can see the 'graphics' construction, but I think you're gypping yourself to insist on it.

    BTW: yes, definitely "kicks", though recently a long-past-that-stage (she's lawyer now) CICS/Cobol programmer asked me what I meant by "kicks". Later, she kicked me when I tried pronouncing "IANAL". Lif iz liq þat zumthymes.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Oh what a whirled!

      I have a 1968 Kluge "EHD" "finishing press" ... Foil-stamp, emboss, and die-cut, all on one machine! What a wonderful bit of kit! She's fully functional (if you can manage 440V), shrink-wrapped, and waiting on a new owner ... I use my Heidelberg Windmill for that kind of thing these days. Personal preference.

      Both machines are kludges. Wonderful kludges, but kludges nonetheless :-)

    2. Paul Webb
      Headmaster

      Re: Oh what a whirled!

      I now use 'kludge' or 'kluge' according to whether I mean a bodge or a clever work-around.

      This is after being 'korrected' by an only-mildy-humourless Teutonic pedant who is old enough to have contributed to what became JARGON.TXT.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh what a whirled!

        Should that not be "the Gargon File"?

  15. jake Silver badge
    Pint

    Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

    It's been pronounced "gif" since the late 80s.

    "Gigawatts" is properly pronounced "jiggawatts", as the root of the word is the same as "gigantic". Likewise, the root of "GIF" is the same as "Graphic". Local colloquialisms may vary, of course, but they are not always pronounced the way the terminology was initially vocalized. Another case in point is the "rowter" vs. "rooter" pronunciation for "router". When we invented it, it was "rowter", but YMMV locally.

    One wonders if the folks at Oxford will ever learn what NCSA Mosaic was (I can't be arsed to peruse my big dic to see if it's listed ...), and how Netscape built on that structure, including animated GIFs, in the early '90s. This is ancient tech, regardless, nothing to see here, pass along all ...

    Ah, well. Beer, because beer has more meaning than this kind of pointless argument.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

      The root of both gigawatts and gigantic is the Greek word γίγας (pronounced gigas not jigas). Please don't try to tell me that gigawatts should be jigawatts. Ever. The question is more why we pronounce gigantic with a soft g...

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC06:04 (was: Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

        "The question is more why we pronounce gigantic with a soft g..."

        Because language mutates. Get used to it. The concept isn't going to go away.

        1. Robert Grant
          FAIL

          Re: @AC06:04 (was: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

          More because your argument mutates depending on the facts :)

          You just said that it should be with a soft g because of the similar case of "gigantic", he proves you wrong and says actually "gigantic" is the exception, at which point you do a 180 from the idea of casuistic argument and just say, "Well things in language are just inconsistent!"

          And, "Get used to it"? Meaningless American comebacks do not hide your crappy logic, sir!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC06:04 (was: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

          "Because language mutates. Get used to it. The concept isn't going to go away."

          You lost, my friend. Try to do so with a bit of dignity. And the order to tell people to accept things is hypocritical coming from someone who's just been lecturing on the proper way to pronounce things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

        " Greek word γίγας (pronounced gigas not jigas)"

        Er, no it's not. γ does not have an equivalent pronunciation in English. It's a soft g in the same way as the Scottish ch is a soft k. Sounds a bit like you're building up phlegm.

        There's no reason why we need to pronounce a word derived from a foreign language in the same way they do. And an acronym, when pronounced like a word, can be said any way you want to, because it's a made up word.

        1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
          Pint

          γίγας=gigas?

          Are you sure you're not confusing the pronunciation of the gamma with that of the chi?

          But then again, that pronunciation may be... regional ;)

    2. ISYS
      Pint

      Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

      Ah the English language is a wonderful thing!

      When you clever chaps invented the device that you call a 'rowter' you decided to call it a router - because it routes packets. Route is pronounced 'root' - it is from the French word 'Route' which means route/road/pathway etc.

      As you correctly point out though - Beer.

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Routers and routers....(was Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

      The rooters-v-rowters thing is easy.

      There are two different words here. When "router" refers to a piece of network infrastructure that sends packets along the correct (mostly) route, it is "router", that which routes. Verb "route", pronunciation "root", noun "router", pronunciation "rooter". When "router" refers to a woodworking tool, it is a "router" that "routs". "Rout" has two senses - one refers to inflicting a massive military defeat, forcing a broken army to flee, while the other refers to gouging a channel in the surface of a piece of wood. A tool to do the latter is a "router". Verb: "rout", pronunciation "rowt", noun "router", pronunciation "rowter".

      Sadly, many of our North American colleagues are convinced that the woodworking pronunciation applies to both groups of words, as it is reasonably common to hear them talk about going along "Rowt 17"...

      It's all largely irrelevant. We all know what people mean, even if we think they are ignorant savages for the way they pronounce our language...

      1. Simon_Sharwood_Reg_APAC_Editor (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Routers and routers....(was Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

        here in Australia, "root" means the same but is a little ruder than ,"shag" is in the UK. So "rooters" is out and "rowters" are in.

        1. Martin Budden
          Go

          @Simon_Sharwood_Reg_APAC_Editor Re: Routers and routers....(was Silly Con Valley reporting in ...)

          I'm in Australia too, and I pronounce it "rooters" precisely because it sounds like it means "shaggers". I love how people in the office try really really hard to keep a straight face.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We all know what people mean"

        *MOST* of the time.

        Guaranteed there will be confusion when the understanding is critically important!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

      You should peruse that dictionary of yours. You'd learn that the first G in the prefix giga- can be said either way. As for router, Americans say rowt, we say route - good that you realise pronunciations differ regionally. We don't need you to point it out. Why the bit about Mosaic? Expect people to be impressed that you know about something (else) from the dim past? I get the impression that's pretty much the only reason you ever pipe up. Pretty sad, Jake.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

      A router in the UK can be determined, by pronunciation, if you're networking or woodworking.

      When I encounter Americans who call networking kit a 'rowter' I ask them to clarify the pronunciation in the context of on which road they'd 'get their kicks'.

    6. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Silly Con Valley reporting in ...

      Uk Router is Rooter

  16. Eugene Goodrich
    Holmes

    Pronunciation comes from the words it acronymizes

    Yeah, where I come from we knew it must be "jiff" because it stood for "giraffic interchange format". (We primary used it for pictures of giraffes, you see.)

    Also, we would trade pictures in this format with friends, but we'd always do it for free - so we considered these were like "Christmas or birthday jifts for your friends." (Only, they could be given on any day of the year.)

    Anyway, whatever it's called, it's a jreat format, and I'm so pleased they made it.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jack Ketch
      Stop

      Re: Pronunciation comes from the words it acronymizes

      I keep seeing this 'rule' being parroted, but can anyone actually find a source for it? I know of many acronyms in regular use which do not follow it, and there is no such controversy over their pronunciations.

      Acronyms are words in their own right.

      1. Martin Budden

        @Jack Ketch Re: Pronunciation comes from the words it acronymizes

        "I keep seeing this 'rule' being parroted, but can anyone actually find a source for it?" Yes, it's called 'derivation'. Look that up in a dictionary. A good dictionary will even give you the derivation of 'derivation'.

        "I know of many acronyms in regular use which do not follow it" So do I , but they all should.

        "and there is no such controversy over their pronunciations." There is plenty of controversy: see commentards above and below.

        "Acronyms are words in their own right." They can become so, given enough use, though usually acronyms are just acronyms not words.

        1. Jack Ketch
          Facepalm

          Re: @Jack Ketch Pronunciation comes from the words it acronymizes

          What a lovely straw man you've constructed there.

          Source please.

    3. Ben Norris
      Megaphone

      Re: Pronunciation comes from the words it acronymizes

      Do you pronounce JPEG as JFEG (joint photographic experts group)? No! So why apply different logic to GIF?

      It is jiff as in giant ginger gifs.

  17. localzuk

    Kinda odd

    Its an acronym, so surely it should take on the letters of the words it is formed from. G.I.F. GIF. So, a hard G.

    Why does the creator get to suddenly change the pronunciation of it? What if they'd decided that it should be pronounced with an extra Z? Would the OED agree then?

    1. drand
      WTF?

      gif, jif who cares...?

      ... But for the OED to suggest it could be a verb? If I heard anyone talk about 'giffing' I'd cuff them round the head, and no two ways about it.

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Verbing weirds language

    "Whichever pronunciation you use, it should of course be the same for both the noun and the verb."

    Whoever uses GIF as a verb should have one of those dropped on them (see icon).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard G here, because Graphics has a hard G, and because there's already at least two other words with the J sound - "JIF" (JPEG Interchange Format) and "jiffy" (one tick of the interrupt timer according to Wikipedia).

  20. Iain Griffiths
    Coat

    Wasn't there a tv ad about 10 years ago

    where the makers of Jif said it was now pronounced Cif?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Wasn't there a tv ad about 10 years ago

      Yes, but they did have the excuse that they were changing the name to "Cif".....

      1. This Side Up
        Joke

        Re: Wasn't there a tv ad about 10 years ago

        Would that be pronounced Sif or Kif?

  21. Stuart Elliott
    WTF?

    40 something perma techie Brit here

    GIF = hard G as in GRAPHICS

    JPG = JAY PEG

    SQL = SEQUEL

    MPG/MPEG = EM PEG

    Router = ROOTER

    SAP = S.A.P.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      30 something perma techie Brit here

      GIF = hard G as in GRAPHICS

      JPG = JAY PEG

      PNG = PING

      SQL = SEQUEL

      MySQL = My ES Q EL

      MPG/MPEG = EM PEG

      Router = ROOTER

      SAP = "That piece of shit that one customer uses."

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: 30 something perma techie Brit here

        Solder = Solder (not 'sodder', don't you see that L there?)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        GIF = hard G as in GRAPHICS

        JPG = JAY PEG or J. P. G. - I'm not fussed.

        PNG = P. N. G.

        SQL = S. Q. L, and if you call it sequel I'll just turn around and walk away because your opinion is worthless.

        MySQL = My S. Q. L, see above.

        SQL Server = Sequel Server - who said I have to be consistent?

        MPG = M. P. G.

        MPEG = EM PEG

        Router = ROOTER

        SAP = either S. A. P. or Oh for fucks sake do I really have to?

    2. Matthew 3

      Re: 40 something perma techie Brit here

      No, I've always thought SQL should be pronounced 'squeal' as it gives an opportunity for lots of Deliverance jokes.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: 40 something perma techie Brit here

        That's OK, I once worked in a place where it was common to call SQL "squill".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SQL

          I like to say "it's SQuirLy"...

  22. Gary Sturgess
    FAIL

    What utter nonsense. I'll start pronouncing it with a soft G when people start saying "Jraphic". I don't give a monkey's what the "inventors" say - they invented a file format, not a bloody language.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So weird. All these people claiming JIFF rather than GIFF

    Never heard anyone call it a JIFF#

    Jiff is the old name of a cleaning product now call cif.

    Wonder if its US/UK based with our american brothers and sisters getting it wrong again and using a J sound.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Jiff is the old name of a cleaning product now call cif."

      At the expense of throwing fuel on the fire, I saw the product before the ads and thought it was pronounced kif ...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought I had it sorted...

    When ambiguous pronounciations crop up I do a spot of Googling to see if I can find the right way to say it, trying to find the definitive source from the experts. Back in the 90s my research led me to conclude that it was Gif rather than Jif, to the annoyance of my soft G co-workers. Now I found I was wrong?! I can feel egg on my face.

    However, they still say Linux with a Lie rather than a Lynn, silly people :)

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: I thought I had it sorted...

      "However, they still say Linux with a Lie rather than a Lynn, silly people :)"

      Mult-eye-threading is one that always cracks me up.

  25. Rufus McDufus

    Gif with a hard G for me down in that thar London and I've rarely heard it pronounced with a J. More often it's non-techies who I've heard pronounce it with a J. I also like to say 'Linnux' as opposed to 'Lie-nux' because it's more likely to piss people off.

    How about SQL - Ess-cue-ell or See-quel? I prefer the former.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Rufus

      "How about SQL - Ess-cue-ell or See-quel? I prefer the former."

      As I understand it, Sequel was actually a different language to SQL, or SQL was derived from it. Strucutred English Query Language or something? I saw it written long before hearing much about it and it's stuck in my head as the former. Besides, I think the ISO standard pronunciation is Ess-cue-ell, isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Rufus

        According to Wikipedia (I know, I know) :

        "SQL was initially developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s. This version, initially called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language), was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM's original quasi-relational database management system, System R, which a group at IBM San Jose Research Laboratory had developed during the 1970s. The acronym SEQUEL was later changed to SQL because "SEQUEL" was a trademark of the UK-based Hawker Siddeley aircraft company. "

        I use Sequel for SQL and PL/SQL, but S-Q-L for MySQL, SQLServer etc...

  26. Magister

    You say tomato, I say tomato

    I've a feeling that the origin of the soft g was in the USA; I worked with some people back in the late 90's that had been over there and they brought the pronuciation back with them. Those of us stay at homes used the hard g.

    Personally, I don't care which they use; I'm not even bothered by the way that some people say "dah - tah" instead of "day-ta". But for some reason, I get really wound up by those that pronounce "dissect" as if it had only one s (you bi-sect a circle, you dis-sect a corpse)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GIF as a verb? Good grief.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone jive a damn?

    I've always used a harg G. Jif is a kitchen cleaner now called Cif but I don't know if it's meant to be pronounced Kiff or Siff. Anyway I'm off to a jig tonight with my jirlfriend. I'll jet my coat...

  29. Fred M

    Other mispronunciations

    I once interview someone for a job programming in a language that he called "C hash". Needless to say he didn't get it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other mispronunciations

      to be fair the sharp sign is different from the hash sign and that is what they use

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Obligatory PAST TENSE moan

        This is el Reg forums, please leave all concepts of tense and inflection at the door.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other mispronunciations

      I wouldn't give a job to anyone that called it anything other than C-Hash.

      That's what it says, that's what it's supposed to be.

      Only americans call it C-Pound as perhaps it was intended to be by MS

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other mispronunciations

        You seriously think it's called C-Hash? I take it you have no musical education whatsoever. It is OBVIOUSLY a pun on the musical note C-Sharp and should therefore be pronounced accordingly. Anyone who does otherwise is just plain ignorant.

        1. Paul M 1

          Re: Other mispronunciations

          Or its more logical pronunciation, D-flat

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Other mispronunciations

          I think it's a troll. Of course it's c sharp...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AC Thursday 15th November 2012 12:51 GMT

          Well where I went to school the little music education we had at my primary school (actually most people I know had 0 in theirs) didn't get into anything like reading notes on a score so to the vast majority they see it as a pound sign or hash.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Other mispronunciations

      I don't hire programmers who don't pronounce "#" as "octothorpe".

  30. b166er
    Paris Hilton

    `

    I'm all for an homage to peanut butter, but in this case it's GIF, hard g as in Graphics, for me.

    I'm off to Paree to see the Eyefull Tower

  31. karma mechanic

    Very strange

    Very strange seeing this discussion - it had never ever occurred to me that it could be pronounced 'jif'. Having worked as a software developer since 1979 (UK multinational) I have never heard the 'j' version. Not once - I'd remember if someone had said that, because, well, it's wrong... :)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    isn't JIF a kitchen/bathroom cleaner?

    perhaps the OED needs to clean up its act - GIF's are G-if's as in g for golf!

    off in a JIF'y!

  33. Ben Norris
    FAIL

    its a play on words

    giant ginger gifs! It has always been pronounced this way! it was named in a play on words about peanut butter.

  34. cheveron

    It's a good thing I didn't mention the dirty fork.

    All this fuss over the pronunciation. It doesn't matter how you pronounce words so long as you are understood. Pronunciations change over time. If you want a proper argument, let's talk about punctuation. Don't you just hate people who leave the apostrophe out of let's?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a good thing I didn't mention the dirty fork.

      Except of course when they should leave it out:

      "the housing company manages many LETS"

      "the security policy LETS people use memory sticks as long as they are encrypted"

      To be honest I would *rather* people left it out.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is this GIF of which you speak?

    I thought GIF was dead thanks to being patent encumbered. Why are they popular again? I thought they'd joined the lost image formats like JPEG2000, BMP (although, that's still handy to clean off metadata), WMP, VDI, ILBM etc?

    That's why we have PNG (which is pronounced P.N.G. or 'ping').

    Tch, young people today, they just can't keep up with the modern trends.

    1. Piro

      Re: What is this GIF of which you speak?

      Basically GIF is used these days for small, shitty animations because animated PNG formats have not taken off, which is a bloody shame.

      Of course, for everything else, PNG is now used.

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: What is this GIF of which you speak?

      The patents expired back in 2003/2004 (varies according to country).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is this GIF of which you speak?

      The various LZW patents expired in 2003/2004 and GIF can freely be used.

      Also the patent pretty much only stopped open source licensed software/websites from using it because they don't allow themselves to use anything with a patent. Most people used it without being sued before PNG took off. I recall using .gif support in the GD library. Officially you were not allowed and it came without it by default, but everyone did it.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: What is this GIF of which you speak?

      PNG is not Ping, Ping is the IP testing routine we all use

  36. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Many eons ago

    i worked in maplins, we had people asking for sub woo-fers, capacitators and steerio cross-overs and others that escape my ever decreasing RAM. The important thing is we knew what they meant....

  37. Infidellic_
    WTF?

    Verb?

    "...it should of course be the same for both the noun and the verb.”

    Verb!?!?! To GIF? Am I the only one never to have heard of this magical verb?

  38. Roby

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        But oddly not

        "to gib" despite that being a common pronunciation.

        I feel old now.

  39. kdh0009
    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?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

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

  41. Lamont Cranston

    Timely.

    I hear geocities is the webhost of choice, too.

  42. heyrick 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.

    1. Jolyon Smith
      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) ?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    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 ;-)

  44. mrfill
    Linux

    Does it depend on .....

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it depend on .....

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

      1. El Andy

        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.

    2. Paul M 1

      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!

    3. Piro

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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 :)

  45. SpaMster
    FAIL

    It's not pronounced Jif

    Really it's not

  46. Mnot Paranoid
    IT Angle

    Oh Lord, not this one again?

    Slow news day?

  47. Stu_The_Jock
    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.

    1. Piro

      Re: GIF vs JIF

      Danes do the same thing.

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

  48. Andrew Garrard

    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.

  49. cortland

    Tittilating, maybe?

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

  50. Infernoz 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.

  51. cortland

    Right!

    With you in a jiff!

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