Reasons why I say GIF with /j/ instead of /g/

Yes, the internet rages on this topic. I jokingly say this debate will still be held on the intergalacticwebs in 2879.

Often you’ll hear someone say, jif is wrong, it should be said gif, because g is a “guh” sound in English. But that’s only partly correct.

English draws from several major root systems. We have Germanic roots, Latin roots, and numerous minor influences.

Words that contain “g” and are followed by e, i, or y are often pronounced with a soft “g”.

Ginger, giraffe, wage

Unless the g is the final letter of the word – big, beg, leg. There are exceptions, based upon words derived from varying root systems.


So these are the reasons I use /j/if and not /g/if…

  1. First, the creator of the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) chose to use the soft-g. Being a new word with no root history, the creator has the right to set the root system for their creation.
  2. The soft-g sound follows the grammatical rule of soft-g if followed by e, i, or y.
  3. Supports energy conservation as the soft-g requires less muscles and uses less energy to say.
  4. Personally, I prefer the sound and prefer using the softer “g”.

And while it can be fun to bicker on such linguistic matters. Remember, language is a living and evolving thing. And in the big scheme of things, this issue has very minimal affect upon your life and well being. So don’t be stupid and lose friendships over /j/ vs /g/

Remember, “I loue yov all.”

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August 2019

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