The creator of the GIF image file format, Steve Wilhite, has stated categorically that the acronym should be pronounced as 'jif', with a soft G.
Steve Wilhite invented the GIF while working for CompuServe back in 1987.
In an email exchange with the New York Times
, mr Wilhite stated that "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
The statement came about after discussion of Mr Wilhite being honoured for his work on the format with a lifetime achievement award at The Webby Awards on Tuesday.
Talking of the process by which he came up with the file type, he stated that "I saw the format I wanted in my head and then I started programming.”
It took about a month for the format to be created and released. Wilhite was working for CompuServe at the time so it was that company that first started using the format.
Surprisingly, Wilhite claims he has never created an animated GIF himself, though he admitted the classic dancing baby GIF from 1996 is a favourite.
As for the pronunciation, while many respect the inventor's decree, many users insist on pronouncing the acronym with a hard 'G', with the logic being that the letter stands for 'graphics' not 'jraphics'.
So, how do you pronounce GIF, and what are some of your favourites?