How to pronounce GIF properly

Caricature of two crowds fighting
Caricature by Manel Fontdevila

»A letter represents a sound. Most of the time, anyway. G can be hard, as in “Greifswald”, or soft, as in “Gin”. It was only after the GIF became popular in social media that the debate about how to pronounce the acronym for “Graphics Interchange Format” flared up. In general, it’s read before it’s heard. At first glance, the brain matches the three letters with already familiar word patterns and decides on a preferred pronunciation. A global survey found that /ɡɪf/ is the most common pronunciation, with 70 per cent of people using it. The creator of the infinite loop image format, like the other 30 percent, takes a stand for /ʤɪf/. However, even the inventor of a word has no say in its pronunciation.

Modern linguistics describes and analyzes without judgment how people actually speak and write. The “Oxford English Dictionary” therefore recognizes both pronunciations.«

First published in issue 20 of KATAPULT magazine.

How the Article Came About

This anniversary issue of KATAPULT Magazine (issue 20) marks a small milestone for me as well. I have been working for KATAPULT for one year now. In other words, I have already experienced four production cycles – as a developer, more on the sidelines than in the middle of the action. This is the third time I have had the privilege of writing an idea in the form of a short article (fragment).

It takes about a month of hard work to produce a KATAPULT issue. The articles to be published are agreed at the beginning, after the editors have presented their ideas to Benni and discussed them. As editor-in-chief, he is responsible for the consistency of the magazine, so he decides on their inclusion. Unlike articles, fragments are often written towards the end of production, although each new edition tries to be more up to date. Whether you are a project manager or a developer, anyone with a good idea is welcome to write a fragment. I appreciate that.

Writing doesn’t come easily to me, so the brevity of a fragment is good practice for me. Before I submitted the fragment, I asked my brother to read it. He was my editor of sorts and gave me advice on sentence structure. That was great. The final text remained unchanged by the editing and was printed in that version. It was a wonderful feeling.

End of article. If you spot a typo or have thoughts about this article, feel free to write me. 🙆‍♂️

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How to pronounce GIF properly