GIF – A Pronunciation Guide

Alright so I’m a bit of a stickler for correct pronunciation, and spelling and grammar (of course, because don’t they just go hand in hand like chocolate and caramel (which is another word I will address some other time) or the classic salt and pepper duo?). I’m one of those people who, when texting, doesn’t used shortened or abbreviated symbols, or whatever they’re called (I sound like an old woman who doesn’t know how to use technology, “Darling, how does one work the cellular telephonic device?”), like “u” instead of “you” and “2” instead of to/too/two (oh if you don’t know the difference between these, I’ll probably be correcting your texts, #sorrynotsorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that hashtag thing, it’s a bit much, even if I was using it ironically. But I’m going to leave it in, because I can do whatever I want (such an angsty teen thing going on)).

There is a word that when pronounced incorrectly, my teeth just grind. That word is GIF. Now there is a debate on the internet (which I’m not sure if it is still going on, but I’ll just assume so) on how to pronounce it. There is argument A where the “g” is pronounced like in “giraffe” i.e. sounds like a “j” (jee-raffe), and there is argument B where the “g” is pronounced like one would assume a “g” is pronounce like in grapes (guh-rapes). Oh, so you ask which side am I on, I’m on B, which I assume I share with the majority of people (gee, am I doing a lot of assuming today).

Let me explain, using evidence, because I do my research, and I don’t think you would trust me if I didn’t have the facts. How many words can you think of off the top of your head that begin with the letter “g”, but it sounds like a “j”? I thought of 2 (and I’m not going to research, or read the entire dictionary, for all the words, because one, I’m a procrastinator and it’ll probably never get done, and two, I’m just plain old lazy), giant and gel. That is my first reason in favour of GIF pronounced as “guh-if”, because it is more common, and the “original sound that you learnt when first learning to read (English is what I’m talking about, “when first learning to read English”. Just putting it out there is case you were confused).

My second reason is that the word GIF is actually an acronym, (cool eh, I did my research) for “Graphics Interchange Format”. I assume you don’t pronounce graphics as “juh-raphics” (unless you can’t spell or pronounce Jurassic. Haha, Jraphics Park; attack of the short soundless video clips). So naturally, due to the proper pronunciation of “guh-rafics”, it would be pronounced as “guh-if”. Not “juh-if” (I think there is a peanut butter brand or some other spread in a plastic jar with the same name but with an added “f”).

Third and finally. “guh-if” just sounds so much better than “juh-if”, plain and simple.

And that’s all folks.



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