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?
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 …
"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.
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.
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 :-)
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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?
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.
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 :-)
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.
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!
"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.
" 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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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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.
"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.
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?
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 :)
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.
"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?
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...
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)
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... :)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 ;-)
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 :)
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.
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.
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