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A peanut butter brand has put its spoon into the GIF pronunciation debate

Ars Technica
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Sam Machkovech
Adam Leibsohn
Steve Wilhite
Charlie Reading
G.)If Jif
Gretchen McCulloch
Michael Dow
G. Each
Barack Obama
Alex Trebek
Jane Solomon


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This works in Jif's favor, since Giphy COO Adam Leibsohn made clear in 2015 that he pronounces both Giphy and GIF with a hard G.When I was presented with the Jif campaign's news (timed with sales of a limited-edition jar of peanut butter), I asked if I could speak with anybody who'd worked at Jif for some time and could thus weigh in on managing a brand like Jif during the era when a popular computer-imaging acronym exploded into common English vernacular. The representative dodged my pointed questions about the etymology of the acronym, particularly how the company reckons with the creator of the GIF, Steve Wilhite, affirming his original pronunciation intent during a 2013 award acceptance speech:Jif's marketing-speak answers to my questions were mostly frustrating because Wilhite has cited this very brand of peanut butter as his reason for using the soft-G sound in the first place. On the one hand, this incredible explainer from linguist Gretchen McCulloch cites a sweeping study by linguistics Professor Michael Dow. It ultimately concludes how inconclusive the English language is in determining the letter G's sound wherever it's found in a word, and each time it finds a possible trend among its studied 40,000 words, that point is refuted by another similarly common thread.Further ReadingYouTube gets with the times, allows fans to create GIFs from videos"When you see a new word starting with 'gi,' your previous exposure to 'gi' words is basically telling you to flip a coin—it's just as likely that you'll decide to pronounce it with a hard g as with a soft g," McCulloch concludes. Or, as Solomon points out, "I highly doubt that people who pronounce GIF with a soft G are going to suddenly switch to a hard G because of a limited-edition design of a peanut butter jar."You must login or create an account to comment.Join the Ars Orbital Transmission mailing list to get weekly updates delivered to your inbox.

As said here by Sam Machkovech