1504. Animated GIFs

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I don’t know if you need a picture of a hard G for your internet arguments about GIF pronunciation, but you are welcome to use this:

A Very Hard G

Just tell people where you got it, y’know?

As for me, I have all kinds of opinions on the pronunciation of GIF.

I am very sympathetic to Steve Wilhite, who invented GIFs, who is pretty adamant about the soft G pronunciation. Apparently the people at CompuServe thought it was funny for GIF to have the same pronunciation as the American peanut butter brand Jif. I guess??

At the same time, you cannot fault dictionaries for including both pronunciations (which Steve Wilhite has done). The hard G pronunciation is out there. People use it. It is understandable. That’s what a word is. Ultimately, while creators of image formats get to coin words, so to do users of a language. If people use the hard G, it should be in the dictionary.

In some ways the hard G is more understandable because you don’t have the ambiguity of not knowing if people want to spread pictures of dancing babies over their bread with jam, but that’s neither here nor there.

As a favor to Steve Wilhite, I use the soft G. I’ll tell other people to. But you can pry my dictionary entry that includes the hard G out of my cold, dead, descriptivist hands. That’s where I draw the line.

There’s a new comment feature at the bottom of the page if you want to weigh in, I guess?