It’s pronounced 'jif' -- jot it?

Do you say "gif"or "jif"? I’ve always been in the gif camp but Steve Wilhite the inventor of the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) says it should be pronounced "jif". Speaking to the New York Times in the run up to being honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Webby Awards he said he was "annoyed" that there was still debate about how the acronym should be pronounced.

The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations, but there’s long been debate about which one is correct, there’s even a Gif Pronunciation Page dedicated to the argument. It suggests that the reason for the "jif" sound is to associate it with the popular brand of peanut butter -- a staple of programmer diets. Of course this only works in the US, here in the UK we think of Jif as a brand of lemon juice or a defunct product for cleaning the sink.

But it doesn't really matter how Wilhite thinks it should be pronounced. Words have lives of their own and how they're said is determined by everyday usage. English often has little logic on these things -- remember that next time your jirlfriend jives you a jift or you feel jiddy watching a jibbon swing through the trees.

Twitter has been alive with the debate and the general feeling seems to be that it’s "gif" with a hard G, despite what its creator thinks. I say it’s time to live and let live. I say gif, you say jif, let’s call the whole thing off and use PNG.

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