An article by The Atlantic resurfaced today. The article outlines the history of the animated GIF.
More than two decades ago, in 1987, Compuserv developed the Graphics Interface Format, a file that allows users with incompatible PCs to exchange pictures. They dubbed it the GIF, pronounced with a soft-g, like Jif, the peanut butter.
Yep. That’s right. GIF is actually pronounced JIF. Is your mind blown yet? Mine definitely is.
To some, a soft-g sound just doesn’t make sense: The ‘g’ stands for ‘graphic,’ which nobody would deny, takes the hard-g sound. Shouldn’t an acronym reflect the words it represents? Thus a hard-g should prevail; but that’s not what its creators intended.
It’s true that it doesn’t quite sound right. I mean, after all, once you grow accustomed to something, it’s hard to change your thinking.
I don’t know about you, but now that I know this, I intend on using the proper pronunciation, even though it’ll take some getting used to. The thing is, once I know something is wrong, I can’t consciously continue to do it — especially with grammar and pronunciation.
Erin has already chimed in and said she won’t be changing how she says the word. What about you?