GIFs, or graphic interchange format, have been around the Web for ages, but they have recently risen in popularity and are a staple of wildly successful sites like BuzzFeed and Tumblr. Google has added an animated GIF search option, and Twitter now (sort of) allows you to share them on your timeline. SBNation even has a Twitter account dedicated entirely to timely sports GIFs.
Most often, GIFs are presented as comedy, but they also can be helpful for instructional purposes, like this one on how to tie a headscarf, or educational purposes, like this mesmerizing GIF of a snowflake forming.
But the question of how to pronounce it, with a hard “g” or a soft “g,” has only recently picked up momentum in the digital world. A couple of recent pop culture moments have reignited the debate. One is Kmart’s GIFing Out commercials. The other was when Jeopardy! poked the GIF debate bear and made the pronunciation a question on its show.
Officially, the pronunciation of GIF is the same as the peanut butter brand JIF, a fact that is lost on a majority of English-speaking people as well as a majority of Raidious employees. I, personally, am 100 percent on Team Hard “G,” even though that puts me at odds with Mr. Trebek.
We did a quick poll and asked around the Raidious office on who is Team Hard “G” and who is proudly Team Soft “G.”
Let’s take a look at the results, in GIF format, obviously …
So, how do you pronounce GIF? Should we change the official pronunciation based on what the inventor of the image calls it, or are we a democracy in which majority rules, and my Hard “G” brothers and sisters let our voices be heard?