How to pronounce GIF properly

Originally published

Caricature of two crowds fighting
Caricature by Manel Fontdevila

»A letter represents a sound. Mostly, at least. 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 flared up about how to pronounce the acronym for “Graphics Interchange Format.” Generally, it’s read before it’s heard. At first sight, the brain matches the three letters with already familiar word patterns and decides on a preferred pronunciation. A worldwide survey showed that /ɡɪf/ is the more common pronunciation, at 70 percent. 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 decision about 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 to Be

This anniversary issue of KATAPULT Magazine (issue 20) marks a small milestone for me as well. I have been working at 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 midst of the action. For the third time, I have been privileged to have written an idea in the form of a short article (fragment). Even illustrated by Manel Fontdevila!

It takes about a month of hard work to produce a KATAPULT issue. The articles to be published are already agreed upon at the beginning, after the editors have brought their ideas to Benni and discussed them. As editor-in-chief, he maintains the consistency of the magazine, so he decides on their inclusion. Unlike articles, fragments are often written closer to the end of the production phase, even though every new production run attempts to be more timely. Regardless of whether you are a project manager or a developer, anyone who has a good idea is welcome to write fragments. I appreciate that.

Writing doesn’t come easily to me, which is why the brevity of a fragment is a good practice for me. Before submitting the fragment, I asked my brother to review it. He was sort of my editor and advised me on sentence structure. That was great. The final text remained unchanged through editing and was printed in that version. A wonderful feeling.


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