In case you were doing something more important yesterday evening, like anything, we had a pretty serious debate here about GIF inventor Steve Wilhite’s declaration that the acronym for Graphic Interchange Format is actually pronounced, “JIF”. But just because he invented the GIF and therefore knows the pronunciation of the very thing that he created, does that necessarily mean that he has the right to tell us how to say it?
Some people would argue yes. Others argued in the comments that the very fundamentals of grammar tell us that it is pronounced with a soft G. But that didn’t stop some of the bigshots in attendance at last night’s Webby Awards from dragging this debate out some more. For starters, Tumblr founder David Karp staked his claim to Team Soft G, but added that he gets why people are so adamant that it’s a hard G.
“I usually do JIF. I usually try to do it properly. I don’t really care; I won’t correct anybody, but I usually go with JIF. Both are pretty weird words.” But Karp did add that soft J makes no sense. “It’s Graphic Interchange Format, and you would think it was a ‘Gah’ sound, a hard G,” he admitted. (Via NY Magazine)
But the real money quote came from President Obama’s former Chief Technology Officer on his 2012 campaign, Harper Reed, who just laid it all out there:
“F*ck that sh*t,” Harper Reed, Obama’s former chief technology officer, told us. “It is GIF.”
And his former campaign tech colleagues also jumped in for Team Hard G.
“It is GIF all the way, and I do not care what the founder thinks,” added Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director.
“If people think it’s JIF,” Michael Slaby, Obama’s former chief integration and innovation officer, chimed in, “they’re not very smart.”
It’s safe to say that this debate won’t end anytime soon, no matter what Wilhite says, but here’s my GIF response to Mr. Reed and his associates…
BOOM. Team Hard G 4 LIFE.