Up until recently, I had never heard anyone pronounce GIF as "JIF". It was always "GIF". I'd heard Ethernet pronounced like ethanol, and they're always the Linux pronunciation debate, but I'd never heard anyone called it a "JIF" before. But then this new hire at work starts calling them JIFs, and I couldn't help thinking about Jif peanut butter

Then, later, we're in a meeting, and she's talking to the UI chick, and she says "JIF". And the UI chick says, "They're called GIFs. JIF is a brand of peanut butter."

I almost had to leave the room.

I remember reading that one of the creators of the GIF came down on the side of the soft Gs. Some would say that being the format's creator gives him the right to specify its pronunciation, but I prefer to apply cold hard logic (of sorts) to the question:

  1. GIF is an abbreviation of "Graphic Interchange Format"
  2. "Graphic" is pronounced with a hard G
  3. Ergo, the G in GIF is a hard G

Here in Ireland, Jif is a brand of kitchen cleaner, and also a brand of lemon juice.

I was, a few years ago, priviledged enough to have a very brief run-in with one of the co-creators for the GIF format, Terry Welch -- the W in LZW. My uncle was working for Unisys, and I was there for some reason or another and in the process of showing me around the place we ran into the guy.

We didn't have much of an intercourse, but in the few seconds I had with him I asked him the question about pronouncing 'GIF'. He told me that while he pronounces it with the stressed 'G' ("g-if"), the other two people (the "L" and "Z") use the 'J' convention, ("jif").

Readers are invited to make their own judgement.

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