Here’s a Timeline of the GIF vs. JIF Pronunciation Debate

The great pronunciation debate has been reignited


T

he Graphics Interchange Format, or

GIF

, was first developed by computer scientist working at CompuServe back in 1987.

And while it has swelled or dipped, the debate over how to pronounce the acronym for those minute looping animations became a thing once the GIF really took off. Is it a hard g like in graphics? Or a soft g like giant? Answering that question depends who you ask and whose authority on the matter you believe in.

Here is a timeline of

how to pronounce GIF

, one of the great debates of the internet age.

June 1987:


Steve Wilhite

releases the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, while working for Compuserve. He called it a GIF with a soft g. “Choosy developers,“ he

reportedly

said, “choose JIF

.”

This was of course a play on the peanut butter brand Jif’s line “choosy mothers choose Jif.”

1994:

The pronunciation debate was apparently already in progress. Australia’s ABC

reports

that “[i]n 1994, the author of an encyclopedia of image formats said ‘most people’ seem to prefer saying a different way than the GIF godfather instructed:

GIF.

November 2012:

GIF is selected as the Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012. The dictionary

wrote

that “GIF may be pronounced with either a soft g (as in giant) or a hard g (as in graphic).

April 2013:

The White House announces its new Tumblr page where,

according to

New York

magazine

, it threw down the pronunciation gauntlet with an illustration that told visitors to the page that they can expect “ANIMATED GIFs (‘HARD G’).” This was the same year that we got GIPHY, a GIF database people could search for the GIFs they wanted.

May 2013:

Wilhite receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Webby Awards and used his platform to make his declaration. “It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.” Just like the peanut butter. “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite

told The New York

Times


. “They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.” But it’s not so simple.

May 2013:

Many people on the internet disagree with Wilhite.

Gizmodo


declared

him “wrong” and Twitter filled with people expressing their disagreement.

“Pffffffffffffff,”

posted one; “Graphics Interchange Format. Graphics. Not Jraphics. #GIF #hardg,”

tweeted another

.

May 2013:

At the time, the J. M. Smucker Company, which owns Jif, agreed with Wilhite’s pronunciation, tweeting, ”It’s pronounced JIF”.

June 2014:

President Barack Obama chooses a side,

announcing

his “official position” is that it is pronounced GIF with a hard g like grape.

June 2014:

A survey of more than 1,000 Americans

were asked

whether they “pronounce

GIF

as ‘jiff’ or ’gift‘” and “‘gift’ handily beat ‘jiff,‘ nearly 54% to 41%.” It was conduced by eBay Deals and a digital marketing agency.

August 2014:

Designer Aaron Bazinet launches website,

howtoreallypronouncegif.com

, arguing for the hard g pronunciation. “It’s the most natural, logical way to pronounce it. That’s why when everyone comes across the word for the first time, they use a hard G.”

August 2015:



Mental Floss

wades

into the debate with the help of a linguistics professor for a comprehensive analysis, ultimately deciding that both sides are correct and that the g in GIF “really can go either way.”

July 2016:


Newsweek


declares

it GIF with a hard G and has a linguistics professor to back them up.

February 2020:

Online GIF site GIPHY teamed up with Jif peanut butter to have some fun with the debate. The two companies

unveiled a limited-edition jar

of peanut butter in Jif’s trademark packaging, but labeled “Gif”. While some may think the packaging implies that GIF and Jif rhyme, according to the two companies—and a series of accompanying GIFs on GIPHY—the opposite is true.

“At Giphy, we know there’s only one ‘Jif’ and it’s peanut butter,” Alex Chung, founder and CEO of Giphy

said in a press release

about the campaign. “If you’re a soft G, please visit Jif.com. If you’re a hard G, thank you, we know you’re right.” That’s right: according to Giphy, GIF is pronounced with a hard G, unlike Jif the peanut butter.

Is that the end of it? Probably not.


via GIPHY


via GIPHY


Get The Brief.

Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now.

Thank you!

For your security, we’ve sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don’t get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.


Contact us

at

letters@time.com

.

Source URL: Read More
The public content above was dynamically discovered – by graded relevancy to this site’s keyword domain name. Such discovery was by systematic attempts to filter for “Creative Commons“ re-use licensing and/or by Press Release distributions. “Source URL” states the content’s owner and/or publisher. When possible, this site references the content above to generate its value-add, the dynamic sentimental analysis below, which allows us to research global sentiments across a multitude of topics related to this site’s specific keyword domain name. Additionally, when possible, this site references the content above to provide on-demand (multilingual) translations and/or to power its “Read Article to Me” feature, which reads the content aloud to visitors. Where applicable, this site also auto-generates a “References” section, which appends the content above by listing all mentioned links. Views expressed in the content above are solely those of the author(s). We do not endorse, offer to sell, promote, recommend, or, otherwise, make any statement about the content above. We reference the content above for your “reading” entertainment purposes only. Review “DMCA & Terms”, at the bottom of this site, for terms of your access and use as well as for applicable DMCA take-down request.

Acquire this Domain
You can acquire this site’s domain name! We have nurtured its online marketing value by systematically curating this site by the domain’s relevant keywords. Explore our content network – you can advertise on each or rent vs. buy the domain. Buy@TLDtraders.com | Skype: TLDtraders | +1 (475) BUY-NAME (289 – 6263). Thousands search by this site’s exact keyword domain name! Most are sent here because search engines often love the keyword. This domain can be your 24/7 lead generator! If you own it, you could capture a large amount of online traffic for your niche. Stop wasting money on ads. Instead, buy this domain to gain a long-term marketing asset. If you can’t afford to buy then you can rent the domain.

About Us
We are Internet Investors, Developers, and Incubators- operating a content network of several thousand sites while federating 20+ eCommerce and SaaS startups. With our proprietary “inverted incubation” model, we leverage a portfolio of $15M+ in valued domains to impact online trends, traffic, and transactions. We use robotic process automation, machine learning, and other proprietary approaches to power our content network. Discover our work!

Share