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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-06-03 04:47:35
For those of you unaware, there is an epic ongoing nerd debate on the "correct" pronunciation of GIF. The creator of the format has chimed in declaring it is 'jif'. "Period. The end. That's final. End of story," he attempts to establish with authority. This is the linguistic equivalent to claiming that halter tops are the only correct apparel for women. While that would please my aesthetic sensibilities no end, it's a ridiculous statement. Why is declaring "jif" official just as ridiculous? Because English is fucked up.
We pronounce 'gift', 'gill', 'give' and others with a hard G. But we utter 'gibber', 'gin', 'giraffe' and so forth with a soft J sound. What the hell ass? Why even have the letter J at all then?
"Official" pronunciations don't mean much of anything. English is such a hodgepodge of inconsistent adaptations that only consensus of usage determines pronunciations. We say 'armadillo' with the hard Ls, but 'quesadilla' with the Spanish soft Y. Why? No good goddamn reason aside from generally agreed upon usage.
The official National Institute of Standards and Technology pronunciation of gigawatt is 'jigawatt', like how the inestimable Doc Brown exclaims. This makes sense. The prefix derives from the same root as 'gigantic'. However, official or not, we have clearly entered into a social compact to say 'gigabyte', not 'jigabyte'. (Which sounds vaguely racist to boot.) We say 'gigawatt', not 'jigawatt'.
AND I'M SORRY NERDS. WE HAVE ELECTED TO PRONOUNCE IT 'GIF'. GET OVER IT.
Click here for an article on Peter Molyneux. He's crazier than Doc Brown.